The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha ‘feeling good, 100 per cent’
Hi-tech with farmers’ care is CM’s mantra

Calcutta, May 13: A drive for technology with an eye on the social sector prevented an Andhra Pradesh happening in Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today.

“Industrialists here are happy with the government’s economic policies. We are not against reforms but at the same time, my government does not like being dictated to by the World Bank or the IMF,” the chief minister said.

Chandrababu Naidu’s government was swept out of Andhra in the Assembly elections because of popular dissent over his neglect of the rural sector.

The Bengal chief minister said his government has managed to balance economic reforms, industry priorities and requirements of the international funding agencies.

Bhattacharjee said he was “feeling good 100 per cent” when asked to react to the Left Front’s faring. He was “relieved” that the BJP was “wiped out from the state”.

The chief minister, Jyoti Basu and Biman Bose are leaving for Delhi tomorrow to attend the CPM politburo and central committee meetings.

Basu was sure that a Congress-led government would take charge in Delhi but evaded a direct answer when asked whether the CPM would join a Sonia Gandhi-led government or extend support from outside. “Such issues will be discussed at length in the ensuing (party) meetings,” Basu said.

The Big Two did not mention the stunning setback to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress in the state but Left Front chairman Bose did.

A party with “no principle, ideology or programme is bound to fizzle out”, he said.

“Trinamul branched out of the Congress but had no ideology. Now, it has started to disintegrate,” Bose told reporters even as he reminded them that he had said at the time of filing of nominations the front would aim at winning all 42 seats in Bengal.

“We thank the people of Bengal — voters who are secular and patriotic and especially the voters of Calcutta. Some had made it appear that the Left could not win a seat in the city,” Bose said.

The victory of CPM’s Anil Basu from Arambagh by 5.92 lakh votes — one of the largest margins nationally — is a pointer to the popular rejection of the Trinamul-BJP combine, the front chairman said. Anil had won the 1999 elections by 1,16,000 votes.

The Left parties will meet at the CPM’s Alimuddin Street office tomorrow to discuss the course of action.

The CPM also retained the Khandaghosh Assembly seat, which fell vacant when MLA Jyotsna Singh resigned. With several mouths to feed at home, the legislator was forced to take up a government job.

In the Assembly contest, Prasanta Majhi of the CPM left Trinamul’s Biswanath Roy 68,258 votes behind.

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