The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Front MPs pull up Buddha govt at interface

Calcutta, Feb. 11: Left Front MPs today criticised several departments of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government and accused them of not providing support when they wanted to raise issues concerning the state in Parliament.

Left MPs from both Houses met the chief minister at the Alimuddin Street headquarters of the state CPM.

Presided by front chairman and CPM politburo member Biman Bose, the meeting was called to impress upon them the need for concerted efforts to raise issues specific to Bengal in Parliament and lobby to realise the demands.

But the government faced flak from senior MPs, including the CPM’s Moinul Hasan and Mehboob Zahedi.

Besides Bhattacharjee, finance minister Asim Dasgupta and industry minister Nirupam Sen attended the meeting.

At the strategy formulation-session, Manoj Bhattacharjee of the RSP, Ajoy Chakraborty of the CPI and Bir Singh Mahato of the Forward Bloc told the chief minister they often found it difficult to articulate the state’s cases as they found information and data supplied by the departments concerned “inadequate”.

The MPs also cited instances when they failed to confront the Centre because of the lack of data with them.

Bhattacharjee advised the MPs to interact with the departments either through Sanjay Mitra, an IAS officer of the state cadre stationed in Delhi, or the officer-on-special duty in the chief minister’s secretariat. Veteran CPM parliamentarian Somnath Chatterjee would co-ordinate the activities, it was said.

The MPs from the state would seek to highlight in the coming session of Parliament 34 issues, including national highways, erosion to banks of the Ganga and the Padma, border security and infiltration.

“It is the first time in many years that an interface like today’s was organised,” an official said. “Our MPs have been given a clear cut idea about the role they would have to play for Bengal’s development.”

The ruling front today asked its MPs to keep in regular touch with the leadership and fight on the floor of Parliament for the demands made by the state to the Centre.

However, not all Left MPs from the state were present at today’s meet. Out of 55 members of Parliament, 31 were present at the meeting where the front leadership sought to underscore what it believes to be the Centre’s apathy to the issues.

The government is especially peeved with the Centre’s attitude towards the erosion of the Hooghly and the Padma in Malda, Murshidabad and Nadia.

“Thousands have lost their homes but the Centre is not releasing money,” said an official.

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