CPI(M) leader and former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is planning a comeback. He took some time out of his busy schedule to speak to Hindustan Times.
Parivartan & media
It is simple. There must be a proper atmosphere for casting votes. If people want a new government, they will get it. However, I am sorry to say that Indian media has lost its credibility and truth is the victim. There is a calculated attempt to mould public opinion.
A national daily in a front-page article reported that Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is conducting a road show on a jeep, whereas Mamata Banerjee is walking.
However, no one wrote anything when Banerjee used a helicopter. One must not undermine the Left Front government. It has already achieved a record. Nowhere in the world have voters elected a government for six consecutive terms. In 2006, Trinamool leaders were sure of victory. What happened?
On Mamata Banerjee
It is an insult to the people of Bengal if a leader says there have been 34 years of misrule. People have voted the Left Front to power over and over again. She has no political commitment. She was with the BJP, then she left and joined hands with the Congress. What happened in the last municipal elections?
I have seen how the railways have performed for the last two years. The planning commission has not sanctioned any projects she is talking about. How will these projects come up? She cannot be a railway minister only for Bengal. Old projects are renamed and voters understand it. As a cabinet minister, she is silent on burning issues such as price rise and scams. Look at her candidates and see how the media is highlighting them.
I know Amit Mitra and had a close association with his father. I think he never heard of Khardah before. When he was the general secretary of Ficci, did he bring any industry to Bengal?
Congress has no spine and is depending on Mamata Banerjee. It is a hundred-year-old political party but look what is happening in Murshidabad and north Bengal.
CPM & land acquisition
There are shortcomings and improper functioning. I heard Gautam (state housing minister Gautam Deb) saying that. Nandigram was a mistake. Nobody in the Left supports killings farmers.
But look what happened in Singur. Who benefited from what happened? We lost 10,000 jobs. Not even the farmers of those 400 acres benefited.
Now she is talking about industry herself.
Agriculture and industry can go hand in hand, but a contradiction was created deliberately. The income of the people of Singur would have increased. Banks and schools were opening up. We missed it all. Bengal alone cannot be a socialist state.
On return to politics
Though I took a conscious decision to retire I feel like coming back and joining the campaign. So many CPI(M) candidates have requested me to speak for them and I may go for campaign for them. But I will not apply for party membership.
The present I now stay at home and have taken up gardening. I have also formed an NGO, which provides free treatment to the poor. I have raised the funds with the help of my wife. The royalty from by book has also been used.