Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not quite plan it that way, but she is set to pull off a political coup. Her big business summit has on stage together Arun Jaitley and Arvind Kejriwal, now at war.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has recently sued Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, is the keynote speaker at the Kolkata event which is underway. Mr Kejriwal will speak later.
The two leaders had attended a dinner with Mamata Banerjee last night. But this is the first time they are sharing stage in public.
Mr Jaitley has filed a criminal defamation case against Mr Kejriwal and five other leaders of his Aam Aadmi Party over their allegations that he had presided over large-scale corruption in Delhi's cricket body, the DDCA, during his 13-year-stint as the organisation's chief. He has also filed a civil suit, demanding Rs. 10 crore in damages.
Mr Kejriwal had repeatedly attacked Mr Jaitley in tweets and other statements after the CBI raided his principle secretary Rajender Kumar.
On Wednesday, Mr Jaitley told a Delhi court that Mr Kejriwal had started a "false, malicious and defamatory campaign for political mileage, causing irreversible damage" to him. "Kejriwal has falsely stated that money was siphoned off and I was the beneficiary," he said in an hour-long statement.
Other speakers at the Kolkata summit include Nitin Gadkari, Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal -- key ministers in the Narendra Modi government. Industry leaders from across the country have also been invited.