Widening differences between the CPI(M) and its allies in the ruling Left Front turned further complicated on Monday as the CPI(M)’s farmers’ wing chose to publicly ignore opposition of the CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc and announced that they were in favour of relaxing land ceiling in Bengal to help setting up of industries and infrastructure.
A day before the select committee of the state assembly is set to discuss and decide the issue, the CPI(M)’s farmers’ wing argued that redundant laws such as this should be changed to keep pace with time. "We are in favour of relaxing the Land Ceiling Act but only in case of industries and infrastructure. This, in no way, will lead to reversing the benefits of land reforms as some fear," leader of the organisation Samar Baora said.
The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has already proposed amendment of section 14Y of the Land Ceiling Act and to empower district magistrates to regularise conversion of the character of land, which have already taken place. In the assembly select committee, where the CPI(M) has the majority, its allies have raised strong opposition to the move.
Significantly, a joint meeting of all Left farmers’ organisations on the issue fell through on Monday with the CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc telling the CPI(M) that the final decision on the issue should be taken only by the Left Front.
The three allies of the CPI(M) also questioned the motive behind the CPI(M)’s refusal to call a Left Front meeting in spite of anti-land acquisition movement spreading all over the state and turning increasingly violent.
The CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc wrote separate letters to the Left Front chairman Biman Bose urging him to call a Front meeting immediately to discuss the differences particularly on the issue of land and Special Economic Zone.
According to insiders, sharp differences have cropped up also within the CPI(M) over the issue of land acquisition and relaxation of the Land Ceiling Act. A section within the CPI(M) agree with the views of the CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc that unless the state government reversed its policies on land, the Front would face serious trouble in the panchayat elections to be held next year.
With all the Opposition parties coming closer to each other on the issue of land, this section within the CPI(M) are of the opinion that acquisition should be halted till the panchayat polls and the government should not proceed with the matter before a through discussion in the party.