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Updated: January 9, 2010 23:16 IST

Buddhadeb asks Opposition if calls for change means turning clock back

Indrani Dutta
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West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee arrives to attend a Polit Bureau meeting in New Delhi. File Photo; Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee arrives to attend a Polit Bureau meeting in New Delhi. File Photo; Rajeev Bhatt

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Saturday lobbed back to the Opposition court, their persistent clamour for a change, quipping: “What are they trying to change? Are they trying to turn back the clock to reverse progress the State has made in areas like land distribution and industry?”

He also made several references to his predecessor Jyoti Basu in his speech.Addressing a public meeting in Barasat in North 24 Parganas district on the city’s northern fringes, he said the Left Front government initiated land reforms, distributed land among marginal farmers, thus changed the land-ownership patterns.

“Now, 84 per cent of the agricultural land is with small and marginal farmers. Opposition is asking for change -- what change do they want -- to snatch away the rights of the poor farmers?” He added that landlords certainly want “their” land back.

He said West Bengal pioneered the introduction of ‘Panchayat Raj’as also reservations for Scheduled Caste, Tribes and Women. “Will all this be changed?” he questioned.

About industrialisation, the Chief Minister said the son of a farmer does not always want to continue an agrarian life. He wants a job and for that industry is needed. Admitting that the State slipped on industry for quite some time, Mr. Bhattacharjee said Mr. Basu understood this and announced the new industrial policyand capital started flowing into the State and new industries were coming up.”

“Does the opposition want to change all that — they have to state their intentions clearly,” he asked.

On Basu

Right at the outset, Mr. Bhattacharjee told the gathering that Mr. Basu was passing through a difficult time and doctors were sparing no efforts to treat him. Mr. Basu did not want to go to the hospital but we felt we could not take any risk. “The Prime Minister said during his visit to Mr. Basu, that doctors from anywhere within the country should be consulted to treat the country’s senior most politician. After this, the doctors at AIIMS were consulted,” the Chief Minister said.

“We want him among us and we wish that he recovers,” Mr. Bhattacharjee said.

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