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Buddha hits out, questions PM’s support base

Former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday came out of the shadow of the electoral defeat and launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but did not target his principal adversary Mamata Banerjee. HT reports.

kolkata Updated: Jun 01, 2011 00:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Former West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Tuesday came out of the shadow of the electoral defeat and launched a frontal attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but did not target his principal adversary Mamata Banerjee.

Bhattacharjee, who till described Singh as an “otherwise good man”, sought to turn the tables on the Prime Minister by questioning his support base.

“Singh described the Left Front defeat in the West Bengal assembly elections as a historic event. But I would like to remind him that despite this defeat, the Left Front still enjoys the support of 41% voters of West Bengal. Manmohan Singh has formed the government with support from only 29% of the voters,” said Bhattacharjee in his first public rally in Kolkata after the assembly poll results were declared on May 13.

“With this paltry support base he is taking decisions that are affecting the lives and livelihood of the majority of the Indian population.”

The rally was convened to protest against inflation and the post-poll violence . The crowd was around 10,000 and could not grow because of heavy rain.

Bhattacharjee, however, spared any criticism of the new government of West Bengal.

“We are keeping a close vigil on the day-to-day functioning of the new state government. Accordingly, we will also decide which path to tread,” said Bhattacharjee.

Referring to the deregulation of petroleum prices about two years ago, Bhattacharjee said, “I repeatedly asked him (Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia) not to take such an anti-people step. But the Centre is taking such steps again and again on instructions from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank,” he said.

He also mocked Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee for his comments after the petrol price hike.

First Published: Jun 01, 2011 00:22 IST