Thursday, April 9, 2009

Election 2009: The Singur Issue

The Statesman

Suhrid, a bother for CPM

Rajib Chatterjee
KOLKATA, April. 9: With the murder of Tapasi Malik (in picture) still fresh in the memories of the people of Singur, the CPI-M Singur zonal committee members are battling unwelcome queries that cropped up after they engaged Mr Suhrid Dutta, the prime accused in Tapasi murder case, in party's poll campaign.
Mr Dutta is leading the party's poll campaign in Singur for CPI-M contestant from Hooghly parliamentary constituency.
After Mr Suhrid Dutta, CPI-M Hooghly district committee member and prime accused in Tapasi Malik murder case, took over the charge of party's zonal committee, local Trinamul Congress leaders in Singur are wasting no time to earn sympathy votes by roping in Tapasi's parents ~ Mr Manoranjan Malik and Mrs Malina Malik in their poll campaign.
To get maximum political mileage, the Malik couple are holding rallies at various places in Singur and describing how their daughter was murdered allegedly by “henchmen hired by Mr Dutta”.
“Being a father of a martyr, I urge the people of the state to pull down Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee from his chair. He is one who backed the man who murdered my daughter. My innocent daughter was killed by Mr Dutta's henchmen for daring to oppose the CPI-M. I can never forgive him. He is roaming freely in Singur and delivering intellectual speeches. I want to see him behind bars,” Mr Malik had said in a poll campaign of Trinamul Congress at Bhadreswar a few days ago.
Mr Becharam Manna, Trinamul Congress leader and convener of the Singur Krishi Jomi raksha Committee said: “The CPI-M will realise shortly that it has made another blunder by engaging Mr Dutta in poll campaigning. People of Singur are not one with the CPI-M's decision. Local CPI-M leaders are facing unwelcome questions for using Mr Dutta in poll campaign. In election rallies, we are highlighting how the CPI-M leader had hired killers to murder Tapasi.”
“With Mr Dutta leading the party's election rallies, a section of CPI-M cadres in Singur apprehend that the existing support base of the party would be hit hard. Some senior CPI-M leaders of Singur have reportedly opposed the decision of the party to engage Mr Dutta in poll campaign. Since it was the decision of the party's state committee, local CPI-M leaders are not opening up in the public,” said a CPI-M insider.
Mr Dibakar Das, CPI-M Hooghly district committee member from Singur, however claimed: “There is no controversy within the party over the issue. People are not raising any questions because they know it very well that Mr Dutta was framed. He is neither a rapist nor a murderer.”

CPM to steer clear of Singur

Pranesh Sarkar
KOLKATA, April 6: Though Singur sparked off nationwide controversy after the small car project of the Tata Motors moved out of the state owing to stiff resistance put up by the Trinamul-led Opposition over “forceful acquisition of farmland”, the CPI-M has decided not to use the issue as a major campaign tool.
The decision has come at a time when it was being predicted that the CPI-M could leave the Opposition in an uncomfortable position, especially in the urban areas, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. It was also being assumed that the CPI-M would leave no stone unturned to “expose” the “anti-development” stand of the Opposition and Singur could be a major weapon for this.
While replying to a question posted in its election campaign website, the CPI-M leadership made it clear that it would focus on the failure of the UPA government to address the concerns of common people during its regime. This apart, the party would also focus on the threat of communal politics of the BJP and the alternative politics advocated by the CPI-M and the Left parties to address the challenges faced by the nation.
Regarding Singur, the party leadership said: “What happened in Singur can only serve to illustrate the bankruptcy of forces like the Trinamul Congress which would be referred to as and when appropriate.”
However, experts said the party has intentionally kept the issue out of campaigning agenda as it would invite fresh controversies over acquisition of farm land to set up industries which could hit its rural vote bank. It can also be recalled that the Left partners had also raised their voices against forceful acquisition of farm land in Singur. If the controversy is raised again, it won't be very comfortable for the party.
It can also be recalled that the Left partners had initially opposed inclusion of Singur and Nandigram issues in the joint appeal of the Left Front. However, the issues were later mentioned in the appeal very briefly avoiding all controversial points. However, though the party decided not to use Singur issue as a major tool in the Lok Sabha polls, it has admitted that a mistake had been committed in Nandigram. Replying to another question, the party leadership said in West Bengal, there is a constant fragmentation and division of land holdings. And as a high proportion of rural populace is dependent on agriculture along with a high proportion of landlessness, it is essential that these people find avenues for employment which could be provided by industrial development.