A MEET­ING OF MINDS

THE FIRST-EVER IN­DIA TO­DAY CON­CLAVE EAST SHOW­CASED THE JEW­ELS OF THE RE­GION IN ALL THEIR GLORY

India Today - - INSIDE - By Amitabh Sri­vas­tava

A first in the re­gion, the In­dia To­day East Con­clave show­cased the abun­dant cul­tural di­ver­sity of the eastern and north­east­ern states

he stage was set for In­dia To­day Con­clave East at Kolkata, and quite fit­tingly West Ben­gal Chief Min­is­ter Ma­mata Ban­er­jee chose the fo­rum to make a defin­ing state­ment—she promised to let San­jay Leela Bhansali screen Pad­ma­vati in West Ben­gal. Ban­er­jee made this brave sug­ges­tion at a time when chief min­is­ters of other states have of­fered lit­tle more than a tacit si­lence to those is­su­ing threats. The chief min­is­ter’s stand was clearly in sync with how In­dia To­day Group Chair­man and Ed­i­tor-in-Chief Aroon Purie de­scribed her in

This wel­come speech, as “Sis­ter Courage, Mother Pro­tec­tor, Iron Lady, she has al­ways stood on the side of angels”. Au­da­cious and de­fi­ant in equal mea­sure, the West Ben­gal chief min­is­ter also at­tacked the BJP-led NDA govern­ment at the Cen­tre, blam­ing it for un­leash­ing a “su­per Emer­gency” and an at­mos­phere of fear in the coun­try. It was clear that Didi, as Ma­mata Ban­er­jee is af­fec­tion­ately called, was aware of her na­tional stature given the fact that her party, the All In­dia Tri­namool Congress, has 33 Lok Sabha seats, a tally that makes her leader of the fourth largest party in the Lower House of Par­lia­ment. With the ster­ling credentials of lead­ing a state that has more

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