CPI(M) will not join any Govt, says Somnath Chatterjee

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Bolpur
May 01, 2004 12:22 PM IST

Upbeat on revival of Third Front in forming govt at the Centre, CPI(M) leader Somnath Chatterjee said he would extend issue-based support.

With CPI(M) upbeat on revival of the Third Front in forming a secular government at the Centre, party stalwart and candidate for Bolpur Lok Sabha seat Somnath Chatterjee on Saturday said his party will not join such a government and instead extend issue-based support to it.

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"We have not joined any political front at the central level and, if required, we will extend issue-based support to the government. We will not compromise with our basic ideology," Chatterjee, who was CPI(M) chief whip in the 13th Lok Sabha, said.

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Chatterjee, who has held Bolpur seat since 1981 after his 1984 defeat in Calcutta South constituency against then Congress candidate Mamata Banerjee, is hopeful that more Left candidates would win and it would influence post-poll politics to keep BJP-led NDA out of power.

Though his main opponent in Bolpur, Nationalist Trinamool Congress candidate Dr Nirmal Maji, is a relative new-comer in politics and a first-time contestant from Bolpur, Chatterjee is not taking any chances.

"Since the announcement of the elections, I have been visiting the interiors of my constituency. I and my party workers campaign for 12 hours daily. This gives me a scope to know the problems of the constituency and enable the common people to tell me directly about their needs," he said.

For Chatterjee, the campaign also allows him to take his ideology to the people. "To us, every election is a battle of ideologies. We take the battle to the common man".

Charging the BJP with being bereft of policies, Chatterjee said "to BJP, the support of 29 TDP MPs is more important than policies".

He said the 13th Lok Sabha was dissolved before its full term since the NDA government wanted to avoid the budget. "Presentation of a full budget would have exposed the reality of the economy and betrayed false claims".

The other reason for the early dissolution of the Lok Sabha, Chatterjee said was that the NDA could not bear the united attack of the Opposition on various issues.

Chatterjee, who spent over 30 years as parliamentarian, lamented that matters having "propaganda value" were gaining precedence in the House than national policies and issues. "Parliament is a place for discussing national policies and issues. But, unfortunately, discussions are becoming more constituency-centric and state-related issues often get raised. This is undesirable".

But certain local problems like encroachment on the 'Khowai' area of Santiniketan, general deterioration of social ambience in the university town and sub-standard civic amenities are becoming issues which Chatterjee, former chairman of the Sriniketan-Santiniketan Development Authority, will have to address.

Former chairman of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), Chatterjee, however, is unfazed, pointing out that he had obtained Rs 10 crore for the Bolpur Mega Industrial Project and had taken other initiatives in the industrial sector.

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