The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha farm balm on front

Calcutta, Jan. 3: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today calmed jitters in Left Front constituents saying the government had no intention to invite multinationals to purchase land for cultivation.

Criticising the state government’s move to introduce a new agriculture policy, several front partners, particularly the Forward Bloc, had expressed apprehensions.

Bhattacharjee said: “We will not allow foreign companies to purchase acres and acres to run their business in the state. These companies are free to invest money but they would have to purchase raw agricultural produce directly from the farmers.”

Addressing party workers at a programme to mark 37 years of Ganashakti, the CPM mouthpiece, Bhattacharjee crowed about his government’s achievements in agriculture growth. “Now, we are concentrating on the growth of agricultural marketing as this can provide employment to thousands of our youths,” he added.

The chief minister pledged government support to the trade unions. “But I will request you to seriously consider two issues while leading any trade union movement,” he said. “You must be careful about the productivity of the industrial unit and, second, you have to keep in mind that violence has no place in responsible trade unionism. We don’t want violence and murder in trade unionism.”

Mohammad Amin, a veteran trade unionist and the labour minister, was in the audience when Bhattacharjee cautioned the unions against going overboard with their movements.

Bhattacharjee criticised the Centre for neglecting issues like land reforms, panchayats, unemployment and creating options for government employees who will lose jobs because of privatisation or closure of Central public sector undertakings.

“I had been to the meeting of the National Development Council, which helps the Centre finalise the five-year plans. But the council remained silent on the problems and I did not attend its second meeting. (Industry minister) Nirupam Sen went to Delhi for that meeting on behalf of our government,” Bhattacharjee said.

Jyoti Basu reacted sharply to the remarks made recently by Bloc leader and agriculture minister Kamal Guha about the CPM’s class character.

Guha had described the CPM as a “party of landlords” and accused its leadership of inducting the bourgeoisie into the organisation.

Guha’s remarks about the front Big Brother had created a flutter in the CPM leadership. The state secretary of the party, Anil Biswas, had denied Guha’s allegation and described the comment as “uncalled for”.

Addressing today’s gathering, Basu said: “I have seen in newspapers that some of the front partners are issuing statements against others in the ruling coalition. This cannot go on.”

“No one (front partners) will be allowed to criticise each other at public meetings. The Left Front is a common platform for all the constituents and if any of them thinks it appropriate to criticise another partner, it will have to do it within the front and at the front’s meeting,” Basu said without naming the Bloc or referring to Guha’s remark.

The editor of Ganashakti, Narayan Dutta, spoke on the occasion and politburo member Biman Bose presided over the programme.

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