Thursday, May 22, 2008

CPM won't change land policy

Statesman News Service
KOLKATA, May 21: The CPI-M won't roll back its controversial policy of industrialisation through farmland acquisition despite the defeat it suffered in areas it sought aggressively to implement its policy, Mr Benoy Konar, Central committee member, said today.
“It's an oversimplification to suggest that our defeat in Midnapore East, which includes Nandigram, Singur in Hooghly, South 24-Parganas and North Dinajpur means a rejection of our policy. Several factors contributed to our poor showing in those areas and these include our failure to convince the farmers about the need for industrial growth along with agricultural development, corruption in a section of panchayats, disunity among the Left Front partners on the question of industrialisation, alienation of the party from the people in many areas and communal propaganda by the PDCI leader Mr Siddiqulla Chowdhury among the rural population,” Mr Konar said.
Trinamul Congress chief Miss Mamata Banerjee hailed Trinamul's victory in the two Zilla Parishads of Midnapore East and South 24-Parganas as “a referendum on the anti-people industrialisation policy of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government and the CPI-M's blatant use of muscle power to impose the policy on the people despite their total rejection.”
The people, she said, had answered CPI-M's "bullets" with ballots.
“This is the beginning of the end of the CPI-M's rule in West Bengal. Our victory in Midnapore East and South 24-Parganas Zilla Parishads is a clear indication that the state is heading for a change,'' Miss Banerjee said.
“We could have gained the Hooghly Zilla Parishad also, if we were allowed to contest in Arambagh, Pursura, Goghat and Khanakul.'' She alleged the Opposition candidates were not even allowed to file nominations in many seats in Midnapore West, Burdwan, Bankura and Hooghly.
Miss Banerjee said she was ready to tie up with like-minded Left forces, but parried an answer when asked if she would form boards with the Congress or the BJP.
Asked whether the Trinamul would take help from the RSP to form a board in South Dinajpur, Miss Banerjee said: “You would come to know about it later''.
Miss Banerjee dismissed the suggestion that the Trinamul would have fared better if it tied up with the Congress. “We have won seats without the Congress,” she said.
Mr Ashoke Ghosh, Forward Bloc state general secretary, posed the question: “Who would answer for the Left Front's defeat in the three districts?”
Mr Manoj Bhattacharya, RSP Central committee member, said the CPI-M's industrialisation overdrive was responsible for the LF's defeat. “The CPI-M didn't pay heed to our advice that the policy of industrialisation through farm land acquisition goes against the interests of poor farmers.”
The PCC demanded the resignation of the chief minister as the verdict of Nandigram and Singur was a rejection of his industrialisation policy, Mr Subrata Mukherjee, its spokesman said.
“The people have lost faith in the chief minister who has no qualms in lying to the people on the crucial question of their livelihood,” he said.
Mr Nandagopal Bhattacharya, CPI leader and minister for water investigation said: “The LF had to pay for the CPI-M's arrogant attitude. We have repeatedly said the CPI-M's industrialisation policy was flawed, but the CPI-M brushed it aside. If no lesson is learnt, the LF would have to pay dearly in the coming days.”