An uncharacteristically fiery Bhattacharya today came down strongly on the Mamata Banerjee-led opposition Trinamool Congress for its pro-Maoists, anti-development stand.
Addressing a Left Front rally in central Kolkata today, Bhattacharya cautioned that the negative politics practiced by the opposition was not the change the state should look forward to.
Responding to the recurring opposition theme that in 32 years the Left Front had not done anything in the state, Bhattacharya enumerated the Left's successes over the years starting from land reforms, increasing growth rate in agricultural production, an effective public distribution system to the implementation of the panchayati raj system much ahead of the rest of the country.
He said, those supporting the Trinamool's call for change today should ask themselves this question that if all these achievements by the Left were mistakes, then what would be the right thing to do?
Even, industrialization in West Bengal was a vision for development, Bhattacharya said, adding that not for one moment, the interests of the farmers were overlooked. Industrialization was necessary for the farmers whose children were educated and looking for employment, he said. The Chief Minister questioned the opposition demands saying should the government stop all development coming into the state in the steel sector, chemical hubs, manufacturing industries and IT?
It was obvious that the Chief Minister was finally making a policy statement. He reiterated that the Left Front would stick to its agenda for industrialization in the state, keeping in mind the need for development through industrial growth. He admitted that the Singur episode had been disastrous but said if there was a chance of a joint centre-state industry there, the state government would work towards it. Mr Bhattachaya also said his government had backed out in Nandigram but it did not mean that all industrial projects in the state should be abandoned.
The Chief Minister made a strong case for industrialization, saying that it was the only way to ensure that the poor did not continue to remain poor for ever.
The huge gathering at the rally must have been a balm to the CPI(M) satraps still smarting under the by-poll debacle where the Left could get only one seat out of ten in the state. The rally was also addressed by Left Front Chairman Biman Bose. By Ajitha Menon (ANI)