People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 18

May 01, 2011




'Food, Employment and Peace Will Be

 Top Priorities of 8th Left Front Govt'



LOOKING a bit surprised at the absurdity of charges levelled by prime minister Manmohan Singh against Left Front government in his election speeches, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya wondered: “I do not know from where prime minister has discovered that nothing is happening in Bengal." Pointing out the falsity of PM's charge, he pointed out progress made in industrialisation effort itself. He reminded that country's biggest steel plant has come up at Shalboni and that too in private sector. Buddhadeb was addressing a ‘Meet the Press’ at Kolkata Press Club on April 24, 2011 afternoon.


Buddhadeb was even more surprised at prime minister's claim that compared to Bengal, Muslims were better off in Gujarat. Reminding that for Minorities, security is the biggest issue, he could not understand prime minister making such a claim after 2002 anti-Muslim carnage under the present Modi government of Gujarat. Buddhadeb expressed confidence that nobody is going to believe such claims of prime minister. He also pointed out that according to central government itself, in the matter of utilisation of Minority student's scholarships, Bengal tops the list even today. Similarly debunking claims of Bengal being kept behind by Left rule, Buddhadeb reminded that while national literacy rate is 74 per cent, Bengal with 77.1 per cent is much ahead of many other larger states.


To a volley of questions from media regarding praise showered by PM on Buddhadeb and his government publicly in the past and his denunciation now, the Bengal CM responded saying this question can only be addressed by the PM. Being further pressed for reply specially hinting at compulsions of coalition politics, he only said that he does not hold to that view. In the election campaign, many things would be said by those opposing us. Buddhadeb closed this topic by saying that ultimately what matters is what people say and think of us, not what PM thinks.


In this connection, a confident and relaxed Buddhadeb categorically claimed a comfortable win for Left Front in current elections. Cutting short a question about 'doubts' Buddhadeb repeated that he did not have any doubt, "We will get a comfortable majority." Buddhadeb began his brief address to press by underlining top four priorities of his next government: strengthened and universalised PDS, creation of employment through industrialisation, improving life of marginalised sections, ie,  tribals, poor Muslims, unorganised sector and establishing peace and tranquility. Later on, he further summarised top priorities of the 8th Left Front government as: ‘Food, Employment and Peace.’


Answering questions, the Bengal CM also tried to dispel the notions that post-Singur industrial expansion has stopped in Bengal. He drew attention not only towards major developments on industrial front including an electronics complex at Siliguri, but also towards the fact of investment worth Rs 15,000 crore made in 2010 alone. He also drew attention towards the successful acquisition of 8,100 acres of land for purposes of industrialisation. On relationship between opposition combine and threat to peace in the state, Buddhadeb pointed out the TMC's hobnobbing in hills with GJM demanding division of state and its alliance with Maoists specially in Jangal Mahal. He underlined that these are not issues of intra-party clashes and these sources of violence have to be defeated to protect the peace in the state.


In the morning, Buddhadeb led a huge padyatra through three assembly constituencies of Kolkata city—Chaurangi, Shyampukur and Jodasanko. Thousands from all sections of society participated with much enthusiasm in these programmes. Most of the three and a half kilometre long stretch also had thousands lined up on both sides of the path to see, welcome and even join the procession. The procession started from Mohmmad Ali Park and concluded at Baag Bazar.


Flower petals were repeatedly showered over the procession at various junctions. All along the way, people on rooftops, balconies and their windows also waved their support to the CM and the Left Front. The CM and candidates from three constituencies—Janaki Singh of CPI(M) from Jodasanko, Jeewan Prakash Saha of Forward Bloc from Shyampukur and Bimal Sigh of RJD from Churangee—along with CPI(M) Central Committee and state secretariat member Md Salim, travelled on decorated open jeep.

(Rajendra Sharma)