Tata Motors chief Ratan Tata’s “open letter to the citizens of West Bengal”, carried as an advertisement in some newspapers on Friday, has evoked angry reactions from West Bengal’s Marxists. Industry, however, rallied behind him.
In the letter, Tata writes: “Agitation, violence and terror are overtaking the state in the name of the agricultural community, to serve political goals — stalling progress and destroying the new-found confidence in the state, while doing nothing for the rural poor, other than making promises.”
The CPI-M adopted a guarded approach with state secretary Biman Bose saying: “A businessman has acted like a businessman.” CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was silent.
Trinamool Congress’s Partha Chattopadhyay said: “The letter has vindicated our stand. Tata has himself admitted the cost of the car could be minimised by keeping the ancillary units next to the mother plant. So how could the government acquire land in public interest when a businessman was cutting cost and enjoying subsidies to make money?”
The Left Front allies were also critical, accusing Tata of showing “arrogance”. Forward Bloc’s Ashok Ghosh said: “Tata’s so-called open letter tarnished Bengal’s values, conscience and political consciousness.” Senior RSP leader and PWD minister Ksiti Goswami said, “He cannot expect Bengal to follow the terms dictated by him.”
But Assocham secretary general DS Rawat said, “We don’t see anything wrong with it.”