Allies force Buddha hand
The emergency meeting of the Left Front and a meeting of the CPI-M state secretariat finally forced Bhattacharjee to compromise, reports Tanmay Chatterjee.Updated: Sep 08, 2008, 00:11 IST
Sunday was day of reckoning for Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
On the one hand the threat of Tatas pulling out because of the Trinamool agitation; on the other, Left Front partners and a section of CPI-M leaders making it clear on Sunday that the government must climb down from its stand if it has to end the crisis.
The emergency meeting of the Front at 11 am on Sunday and a meeting of the CPI-M state secretariat at 12.30 pm finally forced Bhattacharjee to compromise.
The CM, sources said, admitted at the meeting that during talks with the Trinamool delegation at Raj Bhawan over the past three days the state had offered to give only the 47 acres within the plant area that was earmarked for rehabilitation of the farmers. (He, however, said the actual area of this plot had now come down to 30 acres to make space for an irrigational pump and canal).
Besides this, the government had also decided to give 50 acres outside the plant area to farmers who refused to sell their land.
The CM said that on Saturday, Leader of the Opposition Partha Chattopadhyay told the government that only Mamata would decide whether return of 80 acres was acceptable or not.
“But on Sunday morning the chief minister told us that although the Trinamool leadership seemed to be softening their stance, Mamata said she would settle for nothing less than at least 200 acres within the plant area. Buddhadeb said the Tatas would never accept such a demand and the project would never take off,” said a Front leader.
At this point the RSP, Forward Bloc and other parties unanimously agreed that the state has to give more than 50 acres outside the plant area to the affected farmers. They also authorised the CM to take his own decision keeping in view the legal implications of the acquisition under an Act of 1894.
“All parties realised the government has to soften its stand or else the stand-off would continue and politically it would be discredited for creating a situation like this”, said a Front leader.