Breaking his self-imposed silence following the Left Front’s defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Monday said there was no question of giving up industrialisation of the state.
He hinted that an alternative project was likely to come up in troubled Singur, which the Tatas had quit last year following a widespread agitation against land acquisition for a manufacturing unit of the Nano car.
“How can I dump industrialisation? There are major industrial projects, which are moving forward. There is a Videocon (project) in North Bengal, a power plant by the Jindals and the petrochemical project in Nayachar,” he said.
This is for the first time in five months that Bhattacharjee has spoken openly about continuing his industrialisation drive after the Left Front’s disastrous performance in the general elections, held in May.
So far, he had maintained a mysterious silence and was understood with the party’s central leadership, which had indirectly blamed Bhattacharjee’s pro-industrialisation polices for the defeat in West Bengal.
Bhattacharjee is learnt to have decided to face the 2011 assembly elections on his favourite planks, and is said to be prepared to “go down fighting rather than surrender tamely”.
“We want development. We need industries. Without industries, how can we develop? ... But in the name of industries, we cannot ignore agriculture,” the chief minister said.
Asked about the scientific park projects of Infosys and Wipro, he said, “They have visited Kolkata, we have given them land. Talks are going on.”
“Even in Singur, we are trying our best to have an alternative project. We have not given up,” he said.
In its election review, the CPI(M) Central Committee had blamed the party’s state unit for defeat.
“There has been lack of consciousness within the cabinet ministers and party leadership in Bengal…there was increasing dependence on the administration rather than on the masses,” it said in June.
Bhattacharjee now seemed to have put all that behind. “Sometimes there are differences even within the Front. We have to take our partners into confidence.”