The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Partners get look at politburo paper

Calcutta, Sept. 11: After Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met Left Front leaders on Friday to brief them about the Salim Group's projects, the CPM brass did something it seldom does.

It distributed copies of its politburo document endorsing the chief minister's wooing of the Indonesia-based conglomerate and explaining why it gave his drive the nod.

'We were satisfied with the response of the front partners (at the meeting),' Jyoti Basu said today. 'But, to reassure them further, we distributed copies of the politburo document, which we normally don't.'

Basu, himself a CPM politburo member, added: 'The politburo has approved Buddha's move after much deliberation and I strongly feel the front partners will back him after going through it.'

The document, according to the veteran leader, should help the allies understand the necessity of industries in the changed scenario.

'I had told them at the front meeting also that they were unnecessarily making a hue and cry over conversion of farmlands for industry. We need industries' at the same time, farmers' interests will be protected,' Basu said.

Apparently satisfied with the contents of the document on the proposed investment by the Salim Group, CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc leaders are now working to convince their workers in the districts not to go public against the government decision to take over farmland for industry.

'We are convinced that he is serious about safeguarding the interest of poor farmers while taking over their lands for setting up industries. Against this backdrop, we have sent the necessary directives to our grassroots workers to keep quiet,' RSP's Monoj Bhattacharya said here today.

Bhattacharya, an MP, said reports in a section of the media criticising the move to woo foreign investors have sent a wrong message to his party's rank and file. 'That is why we have decided to discuss the matter at length with them as soon as we get a detailed note from the chief minister on the proposed projects.'

Industries minister Nirupam Sen has been asked to prepare the note by next week so that it can be distributed among the partners at a meeting, scheduled for early October.

CPI leader Debashis Dutta said an exercise is on to clear misgivings among lower-level party workers about the proposed industrialisation. 'Some of us over-reacted to the chief minister's move to woo the Salim Group. But the discussion on the projects at Friday's meet has cleared all doubts,' he said.

Front leaders expect the chief minister to further explain the details of the proposed industries to be set up by the Salim Group while addressing a rally at Bhangar in South 24-Parganas on September 26.

Land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Molla, who had initially opposed conversion of farmland for setting up industries and townships, will be present there.

CPM insiders said the meeting is crucial as Bhangar and its adjoining areas are supposed to be taken over by the Salim Group for creating a special economic zone.

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