At a time when he was supposed to go all out to solve the Singur crisis, West Bengal Chief Minister and CPI-M Politburo member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee found his party going all out after him for announcing his own perestroika.
A day after Bhattacharjee told captains of industry at an Assocham meeting that he disapproved of bandhs and that he would speak out against such programmes in future, the chief minister got a rebuttal from the CPI-M in public.
Addressing cadres at a function in memory of former party general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet, CPI-M state secretary Biman Bose said, "What else can workers do when capitalists enjoy all the fruits of production and deny them their rights? The right to strike was always there and will always be there."
Bhattacharjee and Industry Minister Nirupam Sen were seated on the dais at Nazrul Manch as Bose spoke.
He made the statement in reference to Surjeet's contribution to the peasants and workers' movements but the words could not have sounded sweet to the chief minister.
Before the meeting, Bose told the media that Bhattacharjee's comments were his "personal opinion and not that of the party".
But during his speech at Nazrul Manch Bose minced no word. "Workers do not call strikes to have fun. They do so when they have no way to go. Strikes are held in the US, in France, UK and in Germany. In fact, Germany witnessed two successful strikes in the recent past. This is not a feature unique to India," Bose said.
Bhattacharjee invited criticism from his Left Front allies as well as the Opposition. State CITU general secretary Kali Ghosh said: "This is his personal opinion. We believe workers will resort to strike as long as capitalism and exploitation are there," he said.
AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said, "It is very unfortunate, more so as he is a leader of the communist movement. Strike is the last resort and it does not take place off and on. It also happens in industrialised countries".