New Delhi, Sept. 2: After signing his business deal in Indonesia, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had said: “It is a historic day for Bengal and the happiest in my life.”
Today, his party ' the CPM ' and its politburo made its own history, approving the chief minister’s efforts to draw investments to Bengal.
“The politburo discussed the chief minister’s visit to Singapore and Indonesia. We have gone through the speeches and his interviews. There is no cause for any controversy,” said politburo member Sitaram Yechury.
After a politburo meeting, Yechury allayed apprehensions that the Indonesian Salim Group’s project to build an industrial city would come up at the cost of agriculture.
“No prime agricultural land will be provided for setting up industries. As the demand (for the industrial city) is 5,000 acres, some small plots of agricultural land could come in that. The farmers, whose land is acquired, would be properly compensated and rehabilitated,” he said.
The statement is an echo of the assurance the chief minister earlier gave his Left Front partners in Bengal.
If there were any voices of dissent, these were in a minority. Politburo member M.K. Pandhe, a trade union leader, was not happy. “I am sticking to my position,” he said. But his was a solitary voice.
Only on one issue did Yechury have to resort to a dismissive style rather than a proper explanation.
He said Bhattacharjee’s comment that he would welcome even 100 per cent private investment in new airports “was an off-the-cuff remark”.
“There has been no proper study of a possible greenfield (airport) project in Bengal,” which was the context for the chief minister’s comment.
The politburo’s nod was expected as the stage was set at the party congress in July.
The CPM updated its position on foreign investment in its political organisational report at the time, preparing the ground for the chief minister to go ahead with his initiatives to attract such capital.
CPM leaders said Bhattacharjee’s business deals on his foreign visit were in keeping with that position.
This does not mean Prime Minister Manmohan Singh can sigh in relief. The leadership said they were against foreign investment in retail trade.