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CPI(M) to revive ghost of Singur to target Mamata Banerjee

india Updated: Jan 10, 2016 00:27 IST
Tanmay Chatterjee

Tata Motors’ Singur project was abandoned after Mamata Banerjee’s movement against land acquisition. (Prateek Choudhury/HT File Photo)

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is gearing up to counter the Trinamool Congress in the upcoming West Bengal assembly polls by showcasing the industrial drive which was initiated under former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s rule.

As part of their strategy, the CPI (M) has scheduled a padyatra on January 16, with both the starting and ending points of the procession strategically chosen — Singur, where the padyatra will start, was the site of the aborted Tata Motors factory in Hooghly, while Salboni, where it will end, was the site of a proposed iron and steel factory in West Midnapore.

The Singur project was later abandoned in wake of current CM Mamata Banerjee’s movement against land acquisition, while Sajjan Jindal suspended operations at the steel project in Salboni citing technical reasons.

“In September 2008, when Tata Motors declared that it would abort the Singur project, the party decided to intensify its campaign to generate public opinion in favour of the revised compensation package the Left government had announced. To protect the project, we even decided not to get into any political confrontation with Trinamool and refrained from attacking Mamata Banerjee in public speeches,” a CPI(M) central committee member told HT on Saturday.

To mount pressure on Banerjee, CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu had even issued a public statement, requesting the Opposition “to rise above politics and co-operate with the government in starting the project”. However, none of the strategies worked and the Nano manufacturing unit eventually came up at Sanand, Gujarat.

With its upcoming padyatra, the CPI(M) aims to bring Singur and Salboni under focus once again.

“This is a fresh effort to bring Singur and Salboni under focus. People must remember who initiated the industrial drive,” said CPI (M) state committee leader Shyamal Chakraborty.

After a public meeting at Singur, the procession will move through different blocks of the district. Meetings will be held at Tarakeshwar, Pursura, Arambagh, Hajipur, Ramjibanpur, Chandrakona and Keshpur. “The last rally will be held at Salboni on January 22, where two other processions from Haldia and Bishnupur in Bankura will merge,” he added.

The party wants Bhattacharjee — who laid the foundation for both projects — to flag off the padyatra from Singur so that people, especially the youth and the unemployed, get the message that it was Left Front that initiated the industrial drive which the current TMC government has showcased at the Bengal Global Business Summit.

CPI(M) leaders, however, are not sure whether an ailing Bhattacharjee would be able make it to Singur on January 16. Party insiders said Left Front chairman Biman Bose and other leaders would be present at Singur.