Kolkata: A day after Ratan Tata said he could not see much of industrial activity in West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state Thursday launched a scathing attack on the Tata Sons' chairman emeritus, saying he was "suffering from delusion" and has "lost his mind".
The veteran industrialist subsequently hit back, saying he would be delighted if shown the development projects that he missed out.
He clarified that the comments concerned only his drive from the Kolkata airport to a hotel via the Rajarhat area and not the state.
While state Finance and Industries Minister Amit Mitra said Tata was suffering from delusion and advised him that he should indulge in his hobby of flying, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim said the industrialist might have "lost his mind" after retiring as chairman of the conglomerate.
"He should carry on with his hobby of flying. I am surprised that his company officials did not brief him properly. He does not know about the expansion of his own group companies in West Bengal... he is suffering from delusion," Mitra said.
He said there was a long list of industries eager to set up shop in Bengal.
Continuing the attack, Hakim asked why Tata wasn't joining politics when he was making such comments.
"Even a blind can see the development that has happened around. Why doesn't he join politics and directly jump into the fray instead of making comments. It seems he has lost his mind," Hakim said.
Asserting that Mitra's anger was needless, Tata said in a statement on Twitter that he would be delighted if the minister could show him the industrial projects that he missed out.
"Mitra might believe that I have lost my mind. I would be delighted if he could show me what industrial development projects I missed while driving through Rajarhat. If he cannot, then I would have to conclude that he has a very fertile imagination," Tata said.
"I made no comment about the industrial development of the state. Mitra's comments are therefore, surprising," he said.
Asked to comment about Kolkata during an interactive programme, Tata Wednesday said he could not see much of industrial development.
"Certainly there is unbelievable change in terms of buildings and development, but it still looks like a countryside underdevelopment. There is a great deal of movement both commercial and residential but you don't see that much signs of industrial development," he had said.
The ministers' attack on Tata came in for sharp criticism from political rivals who said the state's industrial scenario was precarious and not anywhere near the rosy picture painted by the Trinamool.
"Even a lunatic knows what is good for him but not the Trinamool. If somebody has lost her mind then it is the chief minister and the Trinamool supremo (Mamata Banerjee)," said state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
Speaking on the same lines, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sujon Chakraborty and state BJP president Rahul Sinha too accused the ruling party of destroying industry in the state with its policies and extortive politics.