Battle for Bengal intensifies
Stumped by defeat, reformist Buddha goes on backfoot, shelves projects, reports Tanmay Chatterjee.kolkata Updated: May 22, 2009 00:21 IST
On Thursday’s Left Front meeting here to discuss the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections, West bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee toned down his presence, while state CPI(M) boss Biman Bose remained his arrogant self and CPI member of the cabinet Nandagopal Bhattacharya went into introspection mode.
Hours before the meeting, CPI minister Bhattacharya admitted in front of TV cameras that the Left Front leaders’ arrogance and rampant corruption in the rank and file led to the poll debacle.
The chief minister, however, preferred silence on this issue and presented a report on poll-related violence and let others do the talking.
The Front leaders, however, avoided any blame game and focused on the elections to 19 municipalities and a civic board and 95 Panchayat by-elections to be held on June 28.
“We have accepted our defeat and the lesson that we have learnt is us that all of us will have to work overtime. We have to be over-active when it comes to solving problems of the people. Those who have rejected us in the polls should come back to us,” said Bose.
He, however, argued that people voted to select a government in Delhi, and not in Bengal. He said, “The results show that the combined Opposition got 1.90 crore votes against our tally of 1.85 crore. The numbers will help you draw the conclusion.”
Earlier, in the state cabinet’s first post-poll meeting on Thursday morning, the chief minister shelved an information technology project over 120 acres of land at Kharagpur, as the Front partners refused to approve the project. He assured them that future projects would be approved only with the consent of Front partners.
Also, to the surprise of political observers, he stripped the commerce and industry department of the power to create a land map for industry. The job will now be done by the land and land reforms department under senior CPI(M) leader Abdur Rezzak Molla, who had been critical of the state government’s land acquisition methods.