Special Correspondent

Party not roped into campaign against farmland acquisition

  • Naxal groups, socio-religious body preferred to BJP
  • State leadership still hopes for change in stand

    KOLKATA: Spurned by its bigger partner in West Bengal, the Bharatiya Janata Party has chosen to go it alone in the campaign against acquisition of farmland for industry, raising questions about the future of the National Democratic Alliance in the State.

    "There has been no invitation from the Trinamool Congress-led Krishi Jami Raksha (Save Farmland) Committee to include the BJP in its movement against acquisition of land for industry, so we have decided to go ahead with our own agitation," Rahul Sinha, State BJP general secretary told The Hindu here on Thursday.

    Though he declined to comment on the impact on the NDA in the State, Mr. Sinha said, "in any alliance it is the duty of the bigger partner to call the smaller partner to get together in a joint campaign. The invitation, however, did not come from the Trinamool Congress.

    Ms. Banerjee has chosen as partners certain naxalite groupings as well as a social-religious organisation rather than the BJP in her campaign, which she is preparing to extend to areas beyond Singur in Hooghly district and Nandigram in Purbo Medinipur. This despite BJP national president Rajnath Singh's announcement made from the manch, where she went on a hunger-strikein December 2006, that his party was with her in her campaign.

    The State BJP leadership is still hopeful of a change in Ms. Banerjee's stand even though it has called separate meetings at Nandigram and Singur for Friday and February 14.

    "If we are invited, we will go along with them [the Krishi Jami Raksha Committee]", Mr Sinha said, adding an "all-party movement on such an issue over which we are in consensus would have certainly been more desirable. Just as would have been the coming together of all non-Left parties in politically opposing the Left Front."