Calcutta, Sept. 23: The CPM today urged the “people of Singur and the civil society to come out on the streets to save the Nano project” after a visibly downcast industries minister said in Delhi that the prospects of the world’s cheapest car rolling out of Bengal were bleak.
CPM state secretary and Left Front chairman Biman Bose also asked the state government to “take the necessary steps to resume work” at the Tata Motors project in Singur.
He condemned the attack on the two guards at the site and accused “Trinamul Congress-backed goons” of the “cowardly” act.
However, both the party and the government are worried because “tough administrative measures like imposing Section 144” (to prohibit Mamata Banerjee from entering Singur, as it was done earlier) to facilitate resumption of work will result in a confrontation with the Opposition in the festival season.
“It will be politically counter-productive. The Tatas will also not like it as they have declined to resume work with police protection. The government can’t do anything that might put our credibility at risk,” said a CPM state secretariat member.
Although a section of CPM leaders like Subhas Chakraborty and Sushanta Ghosh wants the government to be “to- ugh”, the Left Front partners and the CPM central leadership are against being “provoked into action” by Mamata.
The party has now pinned its hopes on the “people of Singur” and the “civil society” to counter Mamata’s belligerence. “The government is sincere in its efforts to resume work at the project. But it is now clear from the illogical demands of Trinamul and its allies that they want to wreck the Tata project and scuttle the drive for industrialisation. The people of Singur as well as the people of the state should stand up against these Opposition parties,” Bose said.
The party doesn’t want to limit the tussle to one between the CPM and the Opposition. So the bid to involve the civil society. “We don’t want the movement to be portrayed as a clash between the CPM and Trinamul. We want civil society groups to come out on the streets and mobilise people in the interest of the state’s development. Where have the civil society leaders who had rallied against us earlier gone?” asked CPM state secretariat member Madan Ghosh.
“We thank the ones who have appealed to the Opposition to accept the government’s compensation offer. But that’s not enough for leaders like Mamata Banerjee,” he added.
As it became clear that the Tatas won’t wait long, a section of the CPM said it was pinning hopes on “Mamata’s brinkmanship boomeranging on her” in the general elections.
“Mamata knows she would lose the support of a chunk of the middle class and educated youths. But after her success in the panchayat polls, she hopes to offset the loss with a surge of support in the rural areas. We think she would be proved wrong, the cascading effects of a Tata pullout will not be limited to the middle class,” a CPM central committee member said.
“In Singur itself, she’ll have to face a clash between willing and unwilling farmers.”
The party will take stock of the situation in the presence of general secretary Prakash Karat and other politburo members who will be here from Wednesday for the SFI national conference. The CPM state committee will meet next Monday.