The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Patience on wane, CPM’s tone changes
- Appeals over, party at work

Calcutta, Dec. 10: The CPM may be worried about the political fallout if Mamata Banerjee’s health deteriorates, but both chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his predecessor Jyoti Basu today made it clear that the Tata Motors unit in Singur was non-negotiable.

Indicating the hardening mood in the CPM at the end of its state committee meeting today, Basu declined to appeal to Mamata in the manner Bhattacharjee did earlier.

The chief minister, too, asked the CPM rank and file to counter the Opposition campaign through a series of political programmes as the government gears up for the next phase of land acquisition — around 50,000 acres for a string of projects by the Salim Group and others.

Basu, the party patriarch, lent support to Bhattacharjee. “Why should I appeal to her' The chief minister and my party… such a big party… as well as the Left Front have requested her to withdraw her hunger strike. What will she achieve by continuing her hunger strike' She should end it immediately,’’ he said.

Basu also suggested how Mamata can occupy some political space over Singur.

“With 30 MLAs, her party is the principal Opposition party in the state. She has an MLA in Singur. She should come forward and discuss with the chief minister. Let her give suggestions on how to train (the landlosers for alternative livelihood) and other aspects. In this process, she can gain some pradhanya (prominence) in Singur,’’ Basu said.

However, the bottom line was clear. “Tatara okhaney karkhana korbei (the Tatas will build their factory in Singur). We are self-sufficient in grain production and will continue to be so,” Basu added.

Dismissing the agitation by Medha Patkar and Arundhati Roy in the city and Delhi, the former chief minister said: “Those who are staging demonstrations in front of our party office in Delhi are ignorant. What kind of social service are they doing'”

Bhattacharjee, who had iterated in Delhi yesterday that the Tata unit would be set up despite the Opposition campaign, explained the “current situation and the orientation of the government’s dev-elopment plans” to the party state committee.

The state committee meeting focused on expediting development projects in villages in view of the panchayat polls in 2008.

The committee has decided to launch a sustained campaign in support of development plans, reflecting the concern among a section about the impact of the agitation against land acquisition in Singur.

Left Front allies RSP and CPI have opposed “mixing Singur with the campaign for the December 14 strike”, but the party has decided to raise the land issue during the 48-hour sit-in across the state from December 12.

With section 144 still in force in Singur, the Hooghly Left Front will organise the sit-in outside the notified area.

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