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Do as West Bengal does, says CPM

In the backdrop of the 19th party congress, this word of advice to the PM is a clear indication that it is advocating SEZs, reports Tanmay Chatterjee.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2008 01:31 IST
Tanmay Chatterjee

West Bengal’s experiment with foreign capital and economic liberalisation against the backdrop of the UPA’s neo-liberal policies should be the right model for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the CPI(M) said on the second day of its 19th party congress.

“What is happening in Bengal is not anti-liberalisation. We are open to foreign capital. Whatever we are doing in Bengal, we are asking Manmohan Singh to do for India,” said politburo member Sitaram Yechury.

However, delegates from non-CPM ruled states continued to raise uncomfortable questions behind closed doors at Anil Biswas Nagar on the stand to be taken by them on special economic zones and land acquisition.

Though the party is trying to cope with the negative publicity following the violence in Nandigram over land acquisition, the word of advice to the PM was a clear indication that it is advocating SEZs and wants to pass on a message to its own cadres who are opposed to land acquisition and entry of industry majors into retail trade.

“The Posco project in Orissa is a glaring example. We are open to capital that meets production capacity of the area. Capital that ensures technology upgrade and enhances employment opportunities,” Yechury said. “We are opposed to foreign capital in retail trade because it will reduce employment locally,” he added. “There is no contradiction in our policies for Bengal and India.”

That Bengal would be showcased as the model was apparent even before the congress started with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee being projected as a role model. Bhattacharjee and Bengal state secretary Biman Bose even moved the two major resolutions of the day — on Centre-state relationship and price rise.