West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has of late earned renown as a poet and a painter. Her new book of verses has sold more than 10,000 copies, according to a member of the Trinamool Congress party that she heads.
The versifying comes on top of acknowledged success as a painter. A recent auction of her works fetched at least Rs.1 crore last month, money that was donated to the party. Painting is a diversion that relieves stress, the chief minister maintains, many of her artworks being created in her rooms at the Writers’ Buildings whenever she can catch a break.
She also held a recent meeting to attract corporate investment to the state, which probably struck an ironic note in some quarters. At the meeting, she actively encouraged industrialists to get creative, with a couple of them being persuaded to sing, perhaps in anticipation of a new dawn in West Bengal’s industrial future.