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Basu backs Buddha on ‘capital’

Calcutta, Jan. 5: Jyoti Basu today endorsed Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s assertion that there was no alternative to private capital for the state’s industrialisation.

“We’ve been seeking private investment since my tenure as chief minister. Capitalists have a role to play in the state’s industrialisation,” Basu said after a CPM state secretariat meeting at Alimuddin Street this morning.

He added: “Our party believes in socialism but it is still far away. Being a state in the Indian Union, is it possible for us to bring in socialism?”

There was a message for the working class, too. “We have always supported workers’ interests. But they should also not shun their responsibility to increase production.”

The chief minister had on Thursday said that Bengal had no option but to follow the capitalist course. “Do we (the state) have capital to set up a steel plant?” he had asked.

CPM state secretary Biman Bose had backed the chief minister yesterday.

Basu took a dig at the Left Front partners. “I don’t understand why they are raising questions about private investments now. Even when we were in the Opposition during B.C. Roy’s time, we never opposed private investment for industrialisation.”

The Forward Bloc did not comment on Basu’s remarks today but said it did not subscribe to the chief minister’s views. “We shall give a fitting reply to his desperation to woo capitalists at a rally at Singur tomorrow,” party state secretary Ashok Ghosh thundered.

The Bloc has sought bilateral talks with the CPM. It will take place on January 10 or 11.

Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee today iterated the need to acquire land for industry while laying the foundation stone of a road overbridge in Murshidabad. The compensation has to be fair, he said.

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