iconimg Friday, May 29, 2015

Tanmay Chatterjee
Kolkata, September 21, 2007
Jyoti Basu came out in support of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Friday and said that although his party is opposed to American imperialism there is no bar on maintaining trade relations with the superpower or setting up alternative nuclear energy in West Bengal. The CPI(M) is equally opposed to imperialism and fundamentalism, said Basu, apparently indicating for the first time that he does not see US imperialism as a bigger threat than the BJP.

Ahead of the crucial meetings of the CPI(M) Politburo and central committee where the party is likely to take the final call on pulling the plug on the UPA government, the nonagenarian Marxist made it clear that West Bengal will benefit if there is flow of capital at a time when West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is scouting for 100 acres of land for two US companies, Freight Car America and GE Group, who want to invest around $35 million. Bhattacharjee is also planning to send industry minister Nirupam Sen to visit the US to woo more entrepreneurs.

US companies continue to show interest in Bengal. Earlier, the US India Business Council chief Ron Somers had even said that the Nandigram incident will not effect US investments. In fact, even after the March 14 killings, US private equity giant Starwood had said it would set up a hotel in Kolkata.

Basu clarified that he was not aware of any differences between the CPI(M) central leadership and leaders in Bengal on the 123 Agreement. “Newspapers don’t decide on our line of action, we do it. However, only experts will decide whether we should use indigenous or foreign technology for setting up nuclear power plants”, Basu said.

Referring to his first industrial policy declared in 1994, Basu said:“We made it clear that that we are opposed to imperialism but that will have no relation to flow of capital from the US,” he asserted.

Basu’s statement attains significance in view of the strong stand taken by hardliners, like general secretary Prakash Karat, who feel that stopping the US is more important than stopping BJP and its allies from taking advantage of a mid-term poll.