Buddha predicts 'comfortable' Left Front win



Kolkata: Predicting a comfortable win for the Left Front in the West Bengal Assembly polls, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Sunday said the new government would continue with its policies of industrialisation along with land distribution and development of agriculture.

"We will get a comfortable majority," the Chief Minister said at a 'Meet-the-Press' programme when asked about the prospects of the Left Front in the ongoing Assembly polls.

Stating that the new government would continue the Front's policies of land distribution and agricultural development, Bhattacharjee said, "we also want industrialisation."

He said owing to the initiatives of his government, the state saw an investment of Rs 15,000 crore, the highest in 20 years. "We want to create more employment opportunities. The knowledge industries, IT and the manufacturing sector like steel, plastics and cement are doing well in our state."

Land for new industries would be acquired in accordance with the land use map. "The acquisition would be done through consensus by offering remunerative prices and a rehabilitation package. Also, acquisition of fertile land would be avoided as much as possible," Bhattacharjee said.

Denying that the government had stopped land acquisition since the agitation at Singur that stalled the Tata Motors small car factory, the Chief Minister said that since then, 81,000 acre were acquired for various industrial projects.

Bhattacharjee said the new government would strengthen the PDS to provide essentials like rice, pulses, edible oil and sugar at very cheap prices. "We must do it ourselves even if the Centre does not help."

The new government would also work to ensure peace and 'tranquillity' in the state, he said.

Asked about opposition Trinamool Congress accusation that the CPI(M) was fomenting violence in the state, he said, "who is helping those destabilising Darjeeling to demand a separate state? The Trinamool is helping them. We want to defeat the Maoists in Junglemahals, but the Trinamool is helping them."

Denying Trinamool Congress claim that the police firing in Nandigram on July 21, 2003 that left 13 party activists dead, was ordered by him, the Chief Minister said, "I can tell you that none of the firings were ordered from the Writers' Building (the state secretariat)."

To a question, Bhattacharjee said that all elections to him were 'tough' battle, but denied that he was paying extra attention to his constituency Jadavpur.

"If you see the records of the 2006 Assembly elections, you will see that I have addressed the same number of meetings in Jadavpur as I have done this time," he said.

PTI