A 997-acre patch in a remote West Bengal village called Singur would normally be thousands of miles from the urban imagination, except that is it driving in some harsh home truths and making it a test case for industrialisation in India.
On Wednesday, for instance, Tata Group chief Ratan Tata told NDTV that his business rivals could be fuelling political dissent over the setting up of his company’s motor plant there, potentially dragging anybody from the Ambanis to the Bajajs.
Meanwhile in Kolkata, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee continued to breathe on artificial oxygen, her blood went for the first batch of pathological tests, and blood pressure and pulse rate remained low.
However, rubbing in both industrial zeal and political irony for the hundredth time in the last month or so, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said at a rally in north Bengal: “There can be no going back. I am again inviting her to sit down and talk. It seems the Opposition is out to create trouble and stop all kinds of development projects in Bengal.”
In New Delhi, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders met at former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s house to mouth a hurray for Banerjee’s agitation and pass a resolution against the Centre and the Left Front government for their "anti-people land policies”. They also requested Mamata to end her hunger strike.
This, on a day when it became known that Tata said that if someone held a gun to his head, they were welcome to pull the trigger, but he was not the kind to leave under pressure or threat.
In response, Trinamool Congress MP Mukul Roy said: “Such comments will fuel further trouble.”
Investment would continue coming to India as long as there was a promise of political stability, said sources among foreign investors. For every Tata and Posco project in trouble, there were two other projects coming up in the country, said sources in the automobile industry.
To wrap up the twister of a day, Bhattacharya offered to personally visit Banerjee and persuade her to end her fast. However, his party colleagues shot down the idea, even if it was for the sake of 12,000 promised jobs.