West Bengal on Sunday made a pitch for a piece of the electric vehicle revolution as one of its ministers sent an invite to Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk to "drop here" and set up his business in the state, days after the industrialist tweeted that he was trying to work through some challenges with the Centre.
The US-based company, which is looking to launch its products in India, had last year sought a reduction in import duties so that his company's high-performance electric cars can begin to sell in India.
The heavy industries ministry had asked the electric car major to first start manufacturing its iconic vehicles in India before any tax concessions are considered.
Responding to a tweet on the company's plans to launch its products in India, Musk had written on January 13, "Still working through a lot of challenges with the government."
Md Ghulam Rabbani, the Bengal minister for minority development and madrasa education, on Sunday invited the business magnate to the state, drawing sharp reaction from the BJP, which reminded the TMC minister that it was his party that had driven out Tata's car project some 14 years ago.
"Drop here, we in West Bengal have best infra & our leader @MamataOfficial has got the vision. Bengal means Business," Rabbani posted on the microblogging platform as reply to Musk's January 13 tweet.
Tatas, which had set its sights in Singur for a small car factory, was forced to pull out of Bengal in 2008 following a massive agitation led by the TMC over forcible land acquisition for the project.
Mocking Rabbani, BJP's IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya sought to remind him of the state's past records.
"You might think it is a joke. But it isn't! West Bengal's minister in charge for Minority Affairs and Madrasa Education has made an offer to Elon Musk to come invest in WB. His pitch will start with Mamata Banerjee's record on post poll violence and end with Singur agitation?" Malviya tweeted.
Other states such as Maharashtra and Telangana have made similar pitches to invite the electric car maker to their respective states.
K T Rama Rao, the industry and commerce minister of Telangana, said that it would happy to partner with Tesla in working through the challenges, while Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil has assured all possible help to the car maker.
Last year, Tesla India Motors And Energy Private Ltd, a subsidiary of Tesla Inc, registered itself as a company in Bengaluru for its India operations.
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