THE Left Front in West Bengal is striving to get 50 per cent or more votes in every booth and constituency in the coming assembly elections, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee categorically asserted in a press conference in Kolkata on March 23. “We were ready to face united opposition from the very beginning and nothing has changed because of an alliance between TMC and Congress”, he said. The Left front will attain comfortable majority, he said with confidence. When asked if this is the toughest election, he said: “No. I have seen many elections, especially 2001 and 2006. At that time also, there was media hype that we were facing a tough election. But we have proved everybody wrong.”
Bhattacharjee explained the basic understanding enunciated in Left Front manifesto and answered wide range of questions.
He said the Left Front and its government has stood beside the people, particularly in unorganised sector, who have been marginalised by market economy. Already 25 lakh unorganised workers have been provided with facilities of provident fund. All such sections would be brought under social security. Self help groups have increased in large numbers and they are being provided support from the government.
The chief minister underlined three major areas of success of the seventh Left Front government. First, the state has become self sufficient in rice production and moved forward in massive food grains production. Second, large sections of marginalised people have been provided with social security. Thirdly, the minorities were provided reservation through OBC category along with development in their education and economic activities. In this regard, Bhattacharjee mentioned that though Left Front government was trying its best to alleviate the socio-economic conditions of the minorities, the recommendations of Ranganath Misra Commission opened up the opportunity of providing reservation for them.
Apart from the general development of the state economy, Left Front in its manifesto has focused on some specific infrastructural areas. The chief minister said that the next government would link up all villages with roads connecting with the main road of the area, would connect all villages with electricity and safe drinking water facilities. New towns will be developed around the existing cities.
Bhattacharjee said, an atmosphere of chaos has been created in the state. We want to stop this. Left Front will never allow the disintegration of the hills from the state. Maoists have already affected damages and they have been supported irresponsibly by the opposition forces. Some forces, by their utter intention to grab power immediately have created a condition of intolerance, indiscipline and formed a fear psychosis among people. West Bengal has to come out of this situation.
‘The Left has always progressed through self critical analysis’, said the chief minister. He pointed out that while there was no option but to industrialise the state, there occurred some conflicts regarding land acquisition. Taking lessons from those incidents, the state government has become cautious and underlined consensus in acquiring land. After 2008, we have acquired 8100 acres of land without any problem. The state government has already worked out a land use map and a land bank would be created on that basis.
He also pointed out that rectification in Party work has also progressed. “We have instructed our Party workers clearly that there should not be any needless intervention in natural life stream of civil society”, the chief minister said.
Bhattacharjee said the people of the state would not invite a danger. He asked, “Will West Bengal be run like the railways ministry is being run?” He charged that the railways minister has laid foundation stones without provision of money for the projects. About six other central ministers from TMC, he said, were like ‘non performing assets’, doing nothing in their official jobs while drawing wages from public exchequer.
Bhattacharjee also demanded that the central projects should be handed over to the states and 50 per cent of the direct and indirect taxes should be devolved to the states as they have to meet the basic amenities of the people like education and health. The eighth Left Front government will mobilise all states to strengthen this demand, he said.