West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee while admitting to his personal and party’s mistakes, said on Wednesday that he was confident of the Left Front forming its eighth government.
“I am not above criticism. As head of the government and a party leader, I am equally responsible for the mistakes that have been made,” said Bhattacharjee at a press conference in Kolkata, on whether he considered himself responsible for the Singur and Nandigram fiascos. Although the chief minister had earlier owned up to these, this is the first time he exposed himself to personal criticism.
On Singur fiasco, which made the Trinamool Congress a formidable opponent of the CPM after it bandied the cause of the agitating farmers against Tata Motors’ acquisition of land there, the CM said, “We learnt from these mistakes and have decided to be more cautious with acquisition in future.”
Asked whether the forthcoming polls will be toughest for the Left Front government since 1977, he said, ”We take every election as a tough challenge. We are confident of winning the elections with a comfortable majority. People apprehend that there will be chaos in the state if the Trinamool came to power. Our target is to secure at least 50% votes in every pooling booth,” said Bhattacharjee.
Speaking at length on the achievements of his government, Bhattacharjee rubbished the Trinamool election manifesto as a supplement to the tall claims by the Union railways ministry headed by Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee.
He also rubbished reports that the CPM wanted Banerjee arrested in an old case. “This is baseless. We have no intention of personally harassing her.” He even refused to attack Manish Gupta, his opponent in Jadavpur constituency.
Referring to a section of party leadership, Bhattacharjee said, “We have asked our men not to be arrogant and high-handed. Many of our corrupt leaders and activists have either been expelled from the party or forced to face disciplinary action.”