February 9, 2009

United Left launches LS polls campaign

KOLKATA, 8 February, 2009: Addressing more than 12 lakh supporters from across West Bengal, an aggressive Left Front has revealed its political agenda for the upcoming general elections.Among the top priorities was the need for a third front that would ensure that the BJP and Congress were kept away from power.

"We do not need a BJP- or Congress-led government at the centre. We need a government that will prioritize the needs of the farmers and poor people that will not let be communal. A government which will have an independent foreign policy and not dictated by western countries, we dream of such a government and we know that it will be difficult task," said Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal.
The state leadership also used the occasion to reject the demand of the Trinamool Congress to return the acquired land in Singur to farmers. The Left Front chairperson said returning the land can harm the industrialization process in the state. "We cannot delay our projects on industrialization, but the opposition claims that we can go ahead with the projects but will let us build factories on barren land or in air but not on land. They have been opposing our policies without any reasons. Now they will have to answer the public and explain why they never came to discuss with the state despite several invitations from the Chief Minister," said Biman Bose, Chairman, Left Front.
Veteran leader Jyoti Basu could not make it to the rally due to illness, making it the first instance in the past three decades when Left's election campaign was kicked off in his absence. However, in a written message that was read out to the supporters, Basu talked about the need to industrialize in the state.

From withdrawal of support from the UPA government to Tata’s pulling out of Singur and the unrest across the state, the Left Front used the stage to clear its stand, blaming the opposition for everything that did not fall in place in the past five years. With the allies presenting a united face in its first election campaign sans Jyoti Basu, the Left now hopes to play a vital role in the Third Front in the impending general elections.

Jyoti Basu is fine, says Left Front

Kolkata, Feb 8: West Bengal’s ruling Left Front Sunday blamed “vested interests” for rumours that Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Jyoti Basu was seriously ill and said he was “fine”.“Basu is fine. He has some problems in his legs and back which is why he could not attend the gathering today (at the Brigade Parade ground),” Left Front chairman Biman Bose told the rally.

“Yesterday (Saturday) I met Basu at his residence… His doctor advised Basu not to visit any place where there may be dust. He is not with us for health reason,” he said. Bose read out a statement from Jyoti Basu urging the people to vote for the ruling front in the coming Lok Sabha polls. Media offices Sunday received many telephone calls from people anxious to know if Basu was seriously ill.

Basu was West Bengal’s chief minister from June 21, 1977 to Nov 6, 2000. He stepped down due to poor health and was succeeded by Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee.

Vote for more responsible government at centre: Jyoti Basu

Kolkata: 7th February, 2009: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, former West Bengal chief minister and Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu on Saturday said politicians and people should work together for a "better and more responsible government" at the centre.

"It's high time politicians and the public worked together to form a better and more responsible government (at the centre). Hence I request all people through the media to cast their votes as well as make sure that their neighbours exercise this democratic right too this election," Basu told the media at his Salt Lake residence here.

The nonagenarian, who is a veteran of the Communist Party of India-Marxist - CPI(M) that has been in power in West Bengal since 1977, called upon people to exercise their democratic right in the Lok Sabha polls in April-May.

The CPI(M), along with three other left parties, had provided crucial outside support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that came to power at the centre in the 2004 elections, but withdrew last year to oppose the India-US civil nuclear deal.

Coming down heavily on the state's opposition parties, primarily the Trinamool Congress, Basu said they only wanted to make West Bengal a backward state.

"The parties who are opposing the CPI(M)-backed Left Front in the coming Lok Sabha elections don't want any development - be it social, economic or political - to take place in the state. And they are thrusting their opinion on people using firearms," said Basu.

"These parties have neither a definite political agenda, nor any principle. All they are concerned about is making West Bengal a backward state. They want to harm the state and its people."

"In the absence of morality and political knowledge, all these parties understand is to make people obey them by threatening them with firearms," Basu said.