West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has admitted to serious differences with party ideologues on the issues of industrialisation and economic policies. He said the "group", meaning Left economists who advise the state government and often formulate polices, are not in touch with reality.
Bhattacharjee specifically named economist Prabhat Patnaik, saying his views were purely academic. Patnaik is currently heading Kerala's planning board, a job he took at Kerala CM VS Achuthanandan's request. Others who are part of the group are Jayati Ghosh and Utsa Patnaik.
In an interview with
, Bhattacharjee said these academics were cut off from reality. "I have read what Mr Prabhat Patnaik has written. I don't agree with what he has said." He added that this "group" was "academic".
Bhattacharjee said he differed with Patnaik's views on industrialisation. Patnaik is not in favour of the state government accepting loans from international financial institutions including the World Bank. Bhattacharjee, however, pointed out that at the last CPI-M congress in 2004, the party had agreed to accept loans from these institutions. He added that he had the support of the politburo on the issue. "My politburo is solidly behind me," he said.
Fissures between Leftist politicians and their ideologues, which appeared after the Nandigram killings, are clearly broadening. Left leaning historian Sumit Sarkar and his wife Tanika Sarkar even returned awards given to them by the state government after Nandigram.
On industrialising Bengal, Bhattacharjee said there was "no question of any rollback. I cannot betray the unemployed youth. I cannot go back on the promise of generating jobs. That was the mandate. But I have learnt my lesson from Nandigram. There will no rollback but I will proceed cautiously".