People's Democracy

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


No. 06

February 10, 2013

‘Beyond Political Differences, We Are Concerned

About the Future of West Bengal’

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Speaks to Media

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee expressed concern about the state of affairs in West Bengal under the TMC government, a concern that goes beyond political differences. In two interviews conducted in the same evening in two Bengali television channels Bhattacharjee said, ‘We are concerned where the state will stand after five years. Where will the children of this state go?’

This question was raised in the backdrop of stifled development and visionless working of the present state government. “So many universities, so many colleges, so many polytechnic institutions, so many ITIs, so many engineering colleges – all these kids, when they pass out, where will they go?”  Bhattacharjee asked. 

Bhattacharjee said, ‘Agriculture is important. West Bengal will be ruined if agriculture is weakened. It is being weakened now. Peasants are not getting fair prices for paddy. They are carrying their produces here and there and finally succumbing to distress sale. In Left Front’s time, we used to devise strategy much before. We forced FCI to buy directly from peasants, employed state administration and self help groups to collect from farmers. Panchayats used to play their role. All these are devastated now.”

He added, “At the same time, we had understood very well that with only rice production, only success in agriculture, the state won’t progress. Without big industry, it just won’t do. When big industries are set up, with them come the medium and small-scale set-ups. Big industry means manufacturing.”

The former chief minister also slammed the state government for failing to bring in any new investment "because of lack of any clear land policy". "I personally feel that the government should play an important role in the process of land acquisition in the state. I can't say about other states. But as far as this state is concerned, if the state doesn't play a role, then the industrialists will have no other option than to sit idle," Bhattacharjee said.

While repeating that his government should have been more careful about industrialisation initiatives “in one or two cases”, Bhattacharjee said ,“We have learnt a lesson. We have to be careful regarding land acquisition. There should be no opposition among people… Say, we lose, another party wins, all right. But industrialisation cannot be scrapped because of that,” he added.

Asked to comment in the interview on the Trinamool Congress projecting Banerjee as a symbol of honesty, Bhattacharjee replied: “I am unable to agree”.

On further question, he said: “You conduct a probe into condition now as compared to what it was earlier. According to my yardstick, they do not pass the yardstick of honesty.”

Criticising the state government for not being able to take strong action in the Park Street rape case or such incidents, Bhattacharjee said, "In our time, crimes took place. But we took strong steps and had shown the mentality to curb the crimes. This government lacks that mentality. The kind of language their leaders are using is really disturbing."

Bhattacharjee said "indications are there" that those who felt alienated from the Left are slowly returning to the fold. "Nearly 10-15 lakh people deserted us before the last assembly elections, but the rest considered us as a safe political party. It is my firm conviction that we will be able to get them back. Indications are already there,'' he said. He said that the Left was not wiped out politically during the last assembly elections. "We secured 1.95 crore votes compared to 2.35 crore votes polled by the Trinamool," he said.

Stressing that the experiences of people in last twenty months are really important, Bhattacharjee said, ‘‘People have been realising the difference between us and the Trinamool Congress. They have been observing minutely the difference between what they are experiencing now and what they did during our time. In the coming panchayat elections, it would not be a smooth ride for the TMC in districts”.

Bhattacharjee said, “Now the most important thing is making people aware of what’s going on. We have to reach out to every single man, who is trying to raise his head against oppression.”


State Committee Appeals To

Observe an All-Out Strike

CPI(M) called for organising bigger struggle by mobilising people against incessant attacks on democratic rights by the ruling party and the state government. Party state committee after the two day meeting on January 31 and February 1, has given the call. In a statement issued to the press, it called for a campaign highlighting the fundamental difference between the Left Front government and the present Trinamool government by raising important contributions and successes of the Left Front government. To defend the unity of working class and poor people, a relentless campaign against communal and separatist forces has to be launched.

The meeting widely discussed about the preparations for the imminent panchayat election, intensifying political organisational work and mass organisations etc.

Party state committee while supporting the call of all India general strike by all trade unions, employee federations on February 20-21 has also appealed to the people of the state to extend their support to the two day strike. The meeting stated that the strike calls for betterment of the lives of working people. Various peasant organisations also supported the strike. The state committee has also appealed to the trade unions and organisations to broaden some sectors outside the purview of strike to help  in observance of  International Mother Language Day, which is an important tradition in Bengal. The day has traditionally been observed in West Bengal with a special dignity.

The CPI(M) has decided to organise rallies for campaigning on the burning problems affecting the lives of common people in all corners of the country. The problems include price rise and food security issue, all pervasive corruption issue etc. A part of the all India jatha would enter the state on  February 25 which is so far scheduled to arrive at Kolkata on March 1. The rally will reach the Jharkhand border on March 3. Finally on March 19, an all India rally will be organised at Ramlila Maidan where people from West Bengal too will participate.