Kolkata: Seeking to regain crucial rural
support for next year`s panchayat elections, CPI-M on Sunday
attacked the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal on the
issue of farmer suicides and non-procurement of farm produce.
"In 34 years of Left rule, we did not see farmer suicides
in West Bengal, but now in nine months of Trinamool Congress
government, 33 farmers have committed suicide in the state,"
CPI(M) led by General Secretary Prakash Karat said.
He was addressing a public meeting at the Brigade Parade
Ground here at the end of the 23rd CPI(M) state conference.
"The government is not performing its duty of procuring of
paddy and jute leading the farmers to penury. During Left
Front government, farmer suicides were unheard of," he said.
"We demand that the government take immediate steps for
procuring paddy and jute from farmers and write off their
debts," he said.
He alleged that the Trinamool Congress, part of the UPA
government at the Centre, was playing a double game.
"They are part of Cabinet decisions taken at the Centre
and at Kolkata but they claim that they were not consulted,"
He claimed that the Centre was talking of food security
for all, but the act introduced for it would not ensure food
security for anyone.
"Why is not the Trinamool Congress doing anything about it
or raising its voice?" he asked.
Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee claimed that
in villages a very difficult situation has arisen.
"Farmer suicide in Bengal is unprecedented. They cannot
sell their produce as the government is not procuring from
them and whatever they are selling to private buyers is at a
throwaway price in order to sustain their families," he said.
"Farmers had taken loans earlier also, but could repay
after selling their produce, but now they can`t as the
government is not procuring produce like paddy and jute as we
did during our rule. Distressed farmers are committing
suicide," Bhattacharjee said.
"We had ensured food security for the people of the state,
but now the threat of food scarcity looms," the former chief
minister, who lost in the last Assembly elections, said.
"In the last nine months this new government has not been
able to take one step forward in industrialisation. They
forced out the car factory at Singur. No one will come to set
up industries in the state," Bhattacharjee, whose land
acquisition at Singur for his pet Nano car project and at
Nandigram for industrialisation had given the opposition
Trinamool Congress an edge in rural Bengal, said.
The CPI(M)-led Left Front had lost more than 50 per cent
seats to the opposition Trinamool Congress and Congress in
2008 panchayat elections after protests over acquisition of
agricultural land at Singur and Nandigram.
While Bhattacharjee had to announce that land would not be
acquired at Nandigram after the death of 14 protesters in
police firing, Tata Motors left Singur for Sanand in Gujarat
following sustained protests.
Alleging that the Darjeeling accord with the Gorkha
Janmukti Morcha has not had any effect, he claimed that
violence has increased in the hills and also in
Maoist-affected junglemahal area in south Bengal.
Suryakanta Mishra, Leader of the Opposition in the state,
said "In Singur, the state lost the factory and now the people
have also not got their land back."
Alleging that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ran the
government in a dictatorial manner, he said "I have written to
the chief minister 50 letters in the last nine months, but she
has not ever replied, except for once."
In a subtle message to the state unit of Congress, which
is having a tumultuous relationship with Trinamool Congress,
he said without naming the party "only the red flag will
ensure your right to hold the tricolour flag and it is with it
that your flag will be safe."
Party state secretary and Left Front chairman Biman Bose
said "though the road to success is long, we must not lose
direction and fight to achieve our goal."