Snubs fail, Nanda fires Tughlaq salvo - Whimsical tag on govt

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  • Published 9.12.09

Malda, Dec. 8: State fisheries minister Kiranmoy Nanda today described Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee-led Left Front government as an autocratic one that gave its minor constituents, including his party, short shrift in matters of importance.

He also said the government was functioning in a “Tughlaqi-style”, indicating that the nature of decisions taken in recent times — from Lalgarh to rural projects — had been whimsical and eccentric like those of the Sultan of Delhi, Mohammad bin Tughlaq, who ruled in the 14th century.

“Joint forces were deployed in Lalgarh and we are yet to get any results. The politics of annihilation has not come to an end. How long can this go on? The state government has lost all control over the situation, it seems that the government is run by a Mohammad bin Tughlaq. The ministers are now running around in the districts holding meetings. Before the 1977 elections the Congress and Siddhartha Shankar Roy did the same, but they could not return to power,” Nanda said.

The Sultan of Delhi who ruled between 1325 and 1351 AD is most remembered for shifting his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad about 750 miles to the south in order to govern the Deccan better. Instead of just moving his offices, the king had forced all the people of Delhi to shift. Thousands of people were killed while shifting.

Nanda’s outburst comes despite a snub from Bhattacharjee in the recent past on a wetland deal and from the CPM when it refused to discuss recent poll debacles though he and other junior front partners had demanded it.

Nanda was here to inaugurate an office of his Socialist Party at Mothabari in Kaliachak today.

The minister, who has been holding the fisheries portfolio since 1982, had created a flutter soon after the November 10 byelection results were out. It had thrown up another debacle for the Left Front after the Lok Sabha election and the minister had said in public that the government should step down and call for early Assembly polls.

Earlier than that, in October, Nanda openly criticised Bhattacharjee for giving away 14 acres of a 120-acre waterbody close to the Peerless Hospital on the Garia-connector of the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass in Calcutta, to the Mani Bhowmick Education Foundation without his department’s assent. Nanda had claimed that for the past 20 years people had been earning a living there by fishing.

Bhattacharjee had countered Nanda’s allegation by issuing a circular that said the plot was not categorised as a waterbody in the records of the land department.

Nanda said the malaise lay in the absence of coordination between cabinet ministers and people had begun to question the government’s accountability and transparency. “There is a cabinet, there are cabinet ministers and a chief minister, but each one is doing what he pleases. There is no sign of having a collective responsibility in running the state,” he claimed.

Giving an instance of how ministers from smaller parties were left in the dark on crucial matters, Nanda spoke about the devastation caused by Cyclone Aila in the Sunderbans earlier this year. “There is a large population of fisher folk in the Sunderbans and despite that I as the fisheries minister was totally ignored in the reconstruction process. Why was that? Is it because I am from a small party with just four MLAs? The sense of collective responsibility is not being observed.”

Nanda said people were voting for the Opposition because the Left Front had stagnated and become ineffective. “The Opposition has done nothing for the state yet, actors like Satabdi Roy and Tapas Pal have won the Lok Sabha polls.

“There had been indications of this wave during the 2008 panchayat elections. We lost four zilla parishads and many panchayat samities, and even after that no one bothered to analyse the losses. The government is being run in a whimsical manner,” Nanda said. “An alternative to the Left Front can only be the Left Front,” he added.