Buddha smiles, says CPM gaining ground

Slams TMC, reaffirms his bid to industrialise state.

Ahead of the crucial panchayat elections in the state, former chief minister and CPM politburo member, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee feels that the party, which got a severe drubbing in the 2011 Assembly elections thereby ending the Marxists' 34 years of rule, is all set to regain lost ground.

Speaking to a private Bengali news channel, Bhattacharjee said "indications are there" that those who left the party are slowly returning to the fold. "Nearly 10-15 lakh people deserted us before the last Assembly elections, but the rest considered us as a safe political party. It is my firm conviction that we will be able to get them back. Indications are already there,'' he said.

Painting a promising result for the party in the coming panchayat elections, the veteran CPM leader said: ''People have been realising the difference between us and the Trinamool Congress. They have been calculating minutely the difference between what they are experiencing now and what they did during our regime."

He said that the CPM was not wiped out politically during the last Assembly elections. "We secured 1.95 crore votes compared to 2.35 crore votes polled by the Trinamool," he said.

Referring to the ongoing processes of purging in the state unit of the party that began just after the Assembly elections to cease the downfall, he said: ''Many have left, but some will have to go. The process has already started" and added that the CPM would fight the panchayat polls on the basis of the candidate's image and acceptability.

Criticising the state government for not being able to take strong action in the Park Street rape case, Bhattacharjee said, "In our regime, crimes took place. But we took strong steps and had shown the mentality to curb the crimes. This government lacks that mentality. The kind of language their leaders are using is really disturbing."

The former chief minister also slammed the state government for failing to bring in any new investment "because of lack of any clear land policy". "I personally feel that the government should play an important role in the process of land acquisition in the state. I can't say about other states. But as far as this state is concerned, if the state doesn't play a role then the industrialists will have no other option than to sit idle," Bhattacharjee said.

"In Singur we managed to complete 85 per cent work. There was no problem there. A problem started in Nandigram and it spread to Singur. It created a problem and we failed to solve it, and ultimately we were defeated," he added.

Asked if he would go for industrialisation if he becomes the chief minister again, Bhattacharjee said, "Yes."

"I will go for big industries. Because if you are able to bring in big industries, medium scale and small scale industries will also come up in the state, which in turn will create jobs," he added.

'Don't agree that Mamata is honest'

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that he "does not agree" with the popular perception that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is honest. "I don't agree with the perception that she is honest," he told a Bengali news channel when asked whether he agreed with the popular perception that Banerjee was honest. Asked to elaborate, Bhattacharjee asked the news channel to make its own investigation.

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