Time was not yet ripe to withdraw support from the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, CPI (M) patriarch Jyoti Basu said on Monday ignoring such demands from the CPI and the RSP.
Speaking at a function organised by CPI (M)-supported government employees, Basu admitted that the Centre was deviating from the Common Minimum Programme and was discarding the country's independent foreign policy but said, "Some among us want to withdraw support. But the time is not yet ripe. We will have to hold our patience and instead mount pressure on the government," Basu said.
The CPI and the RSP have already gone on record saying that it was time to consider withdrawal of support from the Centre largely in order to dissociate the Left from the adverse fallout of the UPA government's policies.
Addressing the large gathering at Mahajati Sadan, Basu also candidly admitted that mistakes had been committed in Nandigram. "We rushed into the project even before adequately convincing the people. We could not anticipate that there will be so much resistance and reaction in Nandigram."
Obliquely critical of the manner in which the present state government handled the land acquisition issue that led to resistance first in Singur and then in Nandigram, Basu reminded that similar projects during his tenure as the chief minister of Bengal did not evoke such adverse reaction. "There was no such problem in Rajarhat or Bantala. We had formed cooperatives with people of Rajarhat who had given their land," Basu said.
The veteran CPI (M) leader, however, defended his party and the government's drive for industrialisation. "Farmers can't remain farmers forever," he observed and hoped that at least some of the intellectuals, who drifted away from the party following the Nandigram police firing, would return. "We will not touch multi-crop land. We will also increase agricultural output. We will give adequate compensation to the land-losers. I hope some of the intellectuals who left us will understand and return," he said.
The former chief minister also cautioned his party and urged it to keep vigil so that there was no corruption in handling panchayat and municipality funds. With the panchayat polls a year away, Basu said, "Fifty per cent of the budgetary allocation is spent by the panchayat and municipalities. I have asked our party to see to it that there is no corruption in utilisation of funds," he said.