Top priority of Hillary Clinton’s visit here is meeting with Mamata Banerjee. Before she meets SM Krishna in New Delhi, she wants to meet Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata on 7th May. Of course, aim of this visit is to review progress in the strategic partnership as a preparatory step for the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue to be held in Washington, D.C. on June 13, to be co-chaired by Secretary Clinton and Indian Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna but why is it that she is doing this important work on the second day of her visit.
Very clearly, her visit aims at changing the attitude of Ms Mamata Banerjee towards Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) who has been reason for withdrawal of Government decision to bring FDI in multibrand retail which would have paved the way for opening of global retail stores like walmart, Carrefour and Tesco in major Indian cities. This decision would have opened the sector to foreign investment resulting in great economic reform but Mamata Banerjee being pro-poor believed it to be against farmers and did not allow it to happen and said more discussion was required on this issue.
Mamata’s Trinamool Congress is the second largest party in coalition Government having 19 members in Loksabha and 9 members in Rajya Sabha which can anytime do arm twisting to get its decisions accepted by Government, latest one being resignation by Dinesh Trivedi, Railway Minister for passenger fare unacceptable to Didi ji. United Progressive Alliance (UPA) cannot afford to anger Mamata Banerjee or it would fall flat on ground. Let’s see if Hillary can please our “difficult to please” Didi.