'No backtracking, come what may' - Trinamul cries foul over CM statement

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  • Published 1.02.07

Calcutta, Jan. 31: Hours after Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee issued a statement saying the government will not bow to the Opposition’s pressure tactics on the Tata Motors project, Mamata Banerjee’s men accused him of closing the door on the possibility of talks.

“The chief minister’s statement smacks of arrogance. So, we will have to give a fitting reply,” Mamata was quoted as saying in a meeting at her Kalighat house this afternoon.

“Work in Singur is going to continue, come what may. We are not going to change our policy on the Tata project even for a day,” the chief minister said in the statement, reacting to the Trinamul Congress chief’s ultimatum to the government to stop work on the project already under way.

Mamata had said on Monday that she would wait for 10 days to see if the government stops construction of the car factory.

“Otherwise, I will launch a movement addressing a huge public rally in Singur on February 10.”

The Tatas plan to roll out a Rs 1-lakh car from the plant by next year. The 997.11-acre plot for the project has been fenced off.

Angered by the chief minister’s late night statement, the Trinamul chief went into a huddle at home with two of her aides — party general secretary Mukul Roy and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Partha Chatterjee.

They discussed how to launch a “sustained movement” in Singur from February 10. “Mamata told us that if the government goes ahead with the project, there is no scope for any further discussion. The chief minister has made up his mind,” Chatterjee said.

He held Bhattacharjee “responsible for closing the door on discussion with the Opposition”.

Trinamul MLA Saugata Roy said: “Such an irresponsible statement betrays Bhattacharjee’s lack of tolerance. This will definitely compound the problem. We, too, are in favour of the state’s industrialisation.”

The CPM’s Left Front partners were also not too happy.

“Everybody has to be taken into confidence for the sake of the state’s industrialisation. So, the chief minister should not make statements that might scuttle such efforts,” said the Forward Bloc’s Hafiz Alam Sairani.

CPI state secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar felt that the talks with the Opposition parties on Singur were a “political necessity”.

The CPI has already locked horns with the front Big Brother over land acquisition for a special economic zone in Nandigram.

The chief minister had invited Opposition leaders to the talks table on several occasions. But he had made it clear that the discussions could only be held over the compensation being paid to the farmers, not on the project.

Bhattacharjee will address a public meeting in Singur on February 15, where he will explain the economic significance of the car plant, which is likely to generate over 10,000 jobs — direct and indirect — and spawn many smaller industries.

He will also explain the rehabilitation package and outline the other investments that are likely to follow the Tata unit in Hooghly.