Kolkata: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi refused to be drawn into comparisons between him and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee during a meeting with industrialists here on Tuesday.
Refusing to compare his state with West Bengal, the BJP leader said: "The media only wants Modi to talk about one aspect. I have not come here for this. I do that only during elections."
Modi, widely touted as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, tried to woo Trinamool Congress chief Banerjee. He said he was sure that Banerjee would meet the aspirations of the people of West Bengal.
Modi ducked a question from the audience when asked about his probable suggestions to Banerjee for transforming Kolkata into London.
"I have come here as a student. I am learning from Bengal," Modi said.
"We have seen the difference between the (two) governments. The Gujarat model is a complete model. If governance is good, politics can be taken care of," Kolkata-based Keventor Group chairman M.K. Jalan told reporters.
Asked about the differences between the two governments, Jalan said: "Modi's office is accessible. He is available. Here (in Bengal) there is no window. If you have any problem, you cannot go anywhere."
Jalan said Modi urged all entrepreneurs to invest in his state.
Videocon Group chairman Venugopal Dhoot, who also met Modi, said: "Didi (Banerjee) can learn from Modi and Modi can learn from Didi (Banerjee)."
"Mamata Banerjee's land policy is better because she wants farmers to be paid more for their land. Modi said that he would not interfere in acquiring land from farmers," Dhoot said.
"Modi knows that he does not have any land policy. At least West Bengal has a land policy," he added.
Mamata deflects questions on TMC's possible tie-up with BJP
As Modi sought to reach out to her, Mamata on Tuesday deflected questions on the possibilities her party's tie-up with BJP.
"Whatever I have come to know, he (Modi) appreciated the government....political differences could be there but a government's work can be appreciated by anyone," she said.
Banerjee was asked to respond to the praise heaped by Modi at her government at a programme in Kolkata today.
In reply to a question on suggestions on a tie-up with BJP, she said the "Planning Commission is not a political centre. It is a development and economic centre."
Banerjee was at the Planning Commission to discuss her state's annual plan allocation.
Modi has slammed the previous Left Front government in West Bengal, alleging that it had left a lot of potholes during its 32-year rule.
Congress alleges secret BJP-TMC nexus
Questioning Modi's 'certificates' to Mamata, Congress on Tuesday wondered if there was a secret "nexus" between the Trinamool Congress and its former ally BJP.
The party pointed to Banerjee "good relations" with the BJP in past and hinted that her arriving in Delhi the same day Modi addressed a meeting in Kolkata could be by "design".
"What is the actual purpose of Modi's visit to Kolkata and why is Mamata Banerjee away? Whatever it may be, we feel there is a nexus between the two parties," WBPCC President Pradip Bhattacharya said in Kolkata.
AICC in-charge for West Bengal Shakeel Ahmed said it was Banerjee or the Gujarat Chief Minister "to explain whether they are coming close or whether they have made any commitment to each other because she had good relations with the BJP in past".
"She (Banerjee) had worked with them and was in alliance with them. It is for Banerjee or Modi to explain," Ahmed told reporters in Delhi.
"There is no visible basis for praising the Mamata Banerjee government. Can we take it that this political overture will gradually pave the way for Mamata Banerjee to take to the NDA line?" Bhattacharya questioned.
He said Narendra Modi "gave certificates to Mamata Banerjee for her government's performance which is uncalled for at a time when everybody condemns it for non-performance."
The PCC said if the chief minister fails to react to Modi's praise "we will term it as a deep-rooted political equation."
The PCC president claimed that Modi's statement differed sharply with that of the state BJP, "which is opposed to the Mamata Banerjee government's policies and programmes."
Bhattacharya dismissed Modi's charge of discrimination against non-UPA states by the Centre, saying that it was a ploy to cover up a state's failure.
"In the past Jyoti Basu did it and now Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is doing the same," he said.
CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose said it would be unusual if Modi did not pat Banerjee, who sent him flowers on his victory.