| Basu and Bhattacharjee at the meet. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Calcutta, June 21: The day was meant to mark 30 years of uninterrupted Left rule, but the Front partners turned the Netaji Indoor Stadium into a shadow-boxing arena.
While chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and his predecessor Jyoti Basu defended the drive for industry, the RSP, Forward Bloc and CPI voiced caution couched in rhetoric.
CPM state secretary Biman Bose set the tone for the proceedings, reminding the allies of their coalition dharma.
“The country has entered into an era of coalitions. The Left Front unity is the basic condition for the speedy and effective implementation of our poll promises,’’ Bose said, reminding allies of the mandate in favour of industrialisation in last year’s polls.
But the partners were hardly convinced. “We had formed the front and the government 30 years back as the weapon for people’s struggle against imperialism and anti-people forces,” Forward Bloc leader Ashok Ghosh said. “As long as we follow that politics, we are committed to Front unity.”
PWD minister and senior RSP leader Kshiti Goswami warned: “Let us be cautious (so) that our acts do not compel poor people to shed tears,” hinting at the land acquisition backlash.
Basu tried a balancing act, defending the industry drive while urging the CPM and its allies to “protect Front unity”.
The nonagenarian, who recently tried to broker truce between Mamata Banerjee and the government on land acquisition, today called the Opposition “irresponsible”.
Bhattacharjee made it clear that he would not “retreat, but march ahead” with his vision of development. “Bengal tops the list of states in agriculture production. The challenge now is to revive Bengal’s pre-Independence glory in industry.”
In Delhi, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat echoed him. “Industrialisation is a must for employment. Without big corporate houses like the Tatas, it is not possible in the present system,” he said.
Mamata has listed a 12-point “chargesheet” against the Left and said a probe will be conducted when it is out of power.