Sunday, May 4, 2008

Panchayat polls in Bengal to be a referendum on LF Govt : Hindu (4.05.08)

Kolkata (PTI): West Bengal will go for panchayat polls next week in what could be a referendum on the Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee government's land acquisition policy in the backdrop of Nandigram and Singur controversies.

A Left success will provide an impetus to the government's industrialisation drive and allay fears that farmers were apprehensive of their farm land being acquired for industries.

With Lok Sabha elections scheduled next year, the panchayat elections were crucial in the Left-ruled state where the Marxists dominate most of the zila parishads and panchayats.

Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee, union ministers Pranab Mukherjee and Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee have been campaigning for their parties.

Nandigram, needless to say, has overshadowed local issues.

The Trinamool Congress is pinning hopes on the advantage the party has been able to extract from Nandigram, while the Congress has got a boost following party president Sonia Gandhi's recent visit to the state.

Left Front partner RSP feels CPI(M) would hardly be able to get out of the Nandigram controversy.

"Farmers fear that CPI(M) will grab their land after the panchayat elections. Nandigram has left an indelible mark that is bound to have a fallout in the polls," said Khiti Goswami, PWD minister and senior RSP leader.