'The Meaning of So-Called “Change” is Anarchy'
The Left Front government in West Bengal has achieved the distinction of continuing for 33 years at a stretch. It has started the journey of 34th year on June 21, 2010. In an interview to Ganashakti, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has highlighted some issues in the context of present situation in the state. Below we give excerpts of the interview:
On the recent defeats in polls
The Left Front has gained majority support for consecutive seven terms from 1977. The results of last Lok Sabha elections was an exception. Same trends have been noticed in other elections thereafter. After the Lok Sabha elections, we have reviewed the results. We have identified the areas in government’s planning and actions where there are mistakes. For example, we are now alert on the question of land acquisition. We will protect the fertile lands while non fertile lands would be used for industrialisation. In this case too, we have to be much more sincere on compensation and rehabilitation. If the poor people feel ignored in any area of government and panchayat activities, we have to correct those mistakes. We have to be more sincere about the development of minorities.
We have also identified problems in the organisation of Party. There have been instances of undesirable activities which have dented Party’s image. We have decided to rectify quickly.
Is there a problem in the relationship with the peasantry?
The Left Front was born through continuous peasant movement along with the movements of workers, employees, teachers, students, youth, women. Left Front has progressed through land struggle and struggle for sharecroppers’ rights. The peasantry was deprived in the Congress regime. They were given due honour during the Left Front period. Around 11 lakh acres of land was distributed to the poor and marginal farmers through land reforms. More than 15 lakh sharecroppers were recorded. Overwhelming sections of the peasantry support the Left. One aspect of the Singur and Nandigram episode was our target for industrialisation and generation of employment. But a section of the peasantry and the general people did not accept our stand. To them transfer of land for industries became major concern while they did not comprehend the alternatives. We have now become more careful. The policies for acquisition of land for industries and rehabilitation must be made more realistic, so that the peasantry and the people in general accept that and participate voluntarily.
On the continuous obstruction by opposition parties
It is true that the organised obstruction to resist governmental projects has increased after the last Lok Sabha elections, for example, in Nayachar petrochemicals project, in power project in Katwa, expansion of national highway etc. Despite this, we have progressed during this period. The agricultural production has increased. More than Rs 7000 crore have been invested in industries in the last one year. Clusters for small industries have been constructed. The number of schools and colleges has increased while new universities have been started. Very soon work of Sidho-Kanu University will start.
It would have been correct for the opposition parties to support the government in developmental activities. However, they have continuously put obstacles. Whatever be the situation, we will forge ahead with our programme. We cannot remain idle.
One of the the priorities Left Front government
The priorities can be best summarised as follows: to take the success of states’ agriculture to a new high banking on the success of the land reforms in the state; to fasten up the pace of the process of industrialisation in the state; to advance in the field of human resource development through advancing the success in education, health and related areas. Our topmost emphasis is on the socio-economic development of backward sections, including schedule castes, schedule tribes and minorities.
We have emphasised in distribution of homestead lands in rural and urban areas. Emphasis has been given on employment generation.
On Maoist terror
One of the major problems in the Jangal Mahal area is the terror and annihilation campaign unleashed by the 'Maoists'. We are fighting them both politically and administratively. But the complexity of the situation is that the main opposition party and some organisations are encouraging them either directly or indirectly. We treat this problem as a political problem.
Of course, the problem has an all-India perspective. 'Maoists' are active in seven to eight states. As they have chosen poorer areas as their terrain, it is necessary to initiate socio-economic measures to isolate them. It is also necessary to face them politically apart from activating the police and administration. It is a long term fight and there is no easy solution.
On the so-called slogan of “change”
What is the real meaning of so-called slogan of “change”? Whatever has been done by us, would be changed retrogressively? Will the lands which have come in the hands of the peasants be returned back to landlords? Will the investments for industries be returned? Will the decentralisation of power through panchayats and urban local bodies be dismantled? The people of West Bengal have marched forward in the last 33 years. What are the alternative policies of the opposition? Anarchy can not bring any real, meaningful change. We want to march towards the light, not retard back into darkness.