January 27, 2011

Buddhadeb questions patriotism of Congress

KOLKATA, 23rd January: Invoking Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's vision of India as a socialist country, on the occasion of his 114 {+t} {+h} birth anniversary, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee questioned the patriotism of the Congress [party] in view of reports of tax evasion to the tune of lakhs of rupees as money is siphoned off to accounts in Swiss banks and the recent 2G spectrum scam, on a day officially observed as Desh Prem Diwas by the West Bengal government.

“Is this the patriotism of the Congress? Who are these people who have stashed their money in Swiss banks and why has the government [not] taken any action against them?” Mr. Bhattacharjee asked, adding that the money siphoned off belonged to the nation.

Mr. Bhattacharjee said the money that should rightfully have come to the nation passed into the hands of criminals in the recent 2G spectrum scam.

“Netaji had wanted a planned economy, but market forces have been allowed to rule every sector. Netaji had wanted to ensure control and regulations, but everything is being de-regularised. He had wanted the nationalisation of resources, but resources are increasingly being privatised,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said.

A disastrous situation had emerged because of a market economy, de-regularisation and privatisation, and it had led to the creation of two Indias – one where there are a hundred billionaires and another where nearly 40 percent of the people are poor and deprived of education, health and homes, he said.

The biggest problem was how to bring prices under control so that the poor could afford food. The Supreme Court had directed that food rotting in godowns be distributed to the poor, but the government had no answers, Mr. Bhattacharjee said.

“This dangerous capitalist nature of the government is not what Netaji had envisaged,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said, adding that it was important to revive his ideals in these times. He said that as the State government had officially observed the day as Desh Prem Diwas, he was hopeful that the Centre would follow suit. Biman Bose, chairman of the State Committee of the Left Front said the message of patriotism must be taken to everyone, particularly when “hypocrites who have no love for the country are posing as patriots.” Mr. Bhattacharjee unveiled a statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at Noapara police station in North 24 Parganas district where the freedom fighter had been kept in a lock-up.

The Hindu, Monday, Jan 24, 2011