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Buddha barb at BJP & Modi

Calcutta, March 23 (PTI): Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today slammed the “communal” BJP and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, focussing on an adversary that Mamata Banerjee has been targeting in the past few days.

The former chief minister also hoped that the CPM would not have to form an alliance with the Congress like it had done in 2004, but did not close the door completely on such a possibility.

In an interview to PTI, Bhattacharjee said: “I can tell you that we will try to prevent the BJP with all our strength. But that doesn’t mean we welcome neo-liberal policies of the Congress, which were rejected by the people. They should be defeated. They have built two India, one for the rich and one for the poor.”

The CPM politburo member dubbed Modi as a threat to the secular fabric of the country, making an allegation that Mamata has been iterating at several public forums in the past few months.

At her Brigade rally in Calcutta on January 30, the Bengal chief minister had referred to her Gujarat counterpart as “dangar mukh (face of riots)”, and in subsequent Trinamul workers’ conventions took care to explain the “threat” posed by the BJP.

Referring to Modi, Bhattacharjee said during his interview to PTI: “It is not a simple ambition of a single leader. It is a joint sponsorship of the RSS and Indian corporates. It is a very dangerous development.”

The CPM politburo member also criticised Modi’s development model, picking up a theme Mamata has been drawing attention to. Drilling holes into the Gujarat development model, Mamata has highlighted Gujarat’s higher infant mortality rate, the state’s maritime advantage and significantly lower debt burden.

In the PTI interview, Bhattacharjee sought to draw a distinction between Modi’s corporate-oriented development and the Left’s “inclusive” development. “It is not a happy situation in Gujarat as far as education, health, etc, are concerned,” the CPM leader said.

Bhattacharjee alleged that Modi was yet to come clean on the criticism he faced because of the Gujarat riots.

The former chief minister refused comment on Rahul Gandhi, merely saying: “He is trying to take over. Let him try. I don’t want to comment on that boy.”

Bhattacharjee, whose party’s efforts to form a third front had been hit hard by Jayalalithaa’s decision to call off alliance talks, said there were “no takers” for the federal front being pursued by Mamata. “There are no takers for such a front. They know her style of functioning,” Bhattacharjee said.