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CPM cracks whip on industry sceptics

Calcutta, Oct. 15: The state committee of the CPM today lent full support to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's efforts to woo industry to the state and authorised the party's state secretariat to take action 'against any party leader, MP or even a minister' who opposes the move and issues statements against the chief minister's initiative.

Recently, state minister for land and land reforms and senior party leader Abdur Rezzak Molla had kicked up a storm in the party by openly criticising Bhattacharjee's effort to get the Indonesia-based Salim Group to invest in the state by offering them farmland in South 24-Parganas.

After a day-long meeting of the state committee at the party headquarters in Alimuddin Street, where Molla was present, CPM state secretary Anil Biswas said: 'All those who oppose the chief minister's pro-industry policies, be it a minister or an MP, will face stern action from the party. We had agreed to pursue a pro-industry line during our last state conference in February and not a single delegate then had opposed this. So, it is futile to oppose it now and if any one does do so, he will face action from the party.'

At the meeting, Bhattacharjee spent about an hour spelling out his plans on industrialisation of the state and explaining the 'imminent need' to do so. 'Unless the entire party stands by me, it will be difficult for the government alone to develop the state,' Bhattacharjee said at the meeting, adding: 'I need your help and cooperation.'

Referring to the opposition being raised over handing of farmland for industrial projects, Bhattacharjee said: 'We have to think big and give up our narrow differences on issues. Industrialisation of Bengal is our topmost priority and we have to carry this out in a manner so that every section of society is benefited.'

Party sources said his remarks were particularly directed at Molla and state transport minister Subhas Chakraborty who has also been critical of the chief minister's actions on the industrial front.

Today's decision to empower the state secretariat to initiate action was meant to firmly put a stop to any party leader impeding the process of wooing investments to the state.

CPM sources said it was especially important to do so since the Assembly polls are scheduled to be held next year and such opposition could adversely impact the party's prospects. 'At a time when the chief minister is trying hard to change the image of the state and make it more investor-friendly, voices of dissent, especially from some senior leaders and ministers, would send the wrong signals,' a state committee member said.

The party also decided that plans to face the polls would be kicked off by holding a rally at the Brigade Parade grounds on January 8 next year.

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