The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Why' Queries Basu

Calcutta, May 26: Patriarch Jyoti Basu today chided the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government for yesterday’s incident where a Tata Motors team was surrounded by villagers, but the CPM and the administration were firm that the project would go through.

At a meeting of the state party leadership, Basu said: “I asked Buddha why the government went unprepared when Tata Motors officials were visiting the spot. Demonstrations should not have taken place.”

Villagers had protested before the Tata and government officials when they went to Singur in Hooghly district to look up land for the small- car project.

“It is an awfully bad incident,” Basu said.

The chief minister said the Tata factory would come up at that site. “There is no problem. The media played up the incident ' some 50-60 of them (journalists) had reached there yesterday.” Party secretary Biman Bose said the media had “fanned” the incident.

At the party meeting, leaders like Basu said there was a lack of coordination between the government and the party, its affiliates like the Krishak Sabha and allies. “The incident occurred because of a communication gap,” sources quoted Basu as saying.

Bhattacharjee, however, told the leadership that government officials had consulted the local party apparatus.

Basu asked the party to find out why the incident occurred when Krishak Sabha members had been asked to be present. “I have been told that the leader was sleeping at home,” he said referring to the Krishak Sabha representative entrusted with the job.

Industry minister Nirupam Sen explained: “We could not talk to people because of the elections.”

It was evident, though, that there is some tension in the party over land acquisition. Land minister Abdur Rezzak Molla said: “Kiliye kanthal pakano jai na (you can’t ripen a jackfruit by hammering).”

Sen said: “The jackfruit will be ripened the way it is meant to be done.”

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