Has the Left Front made U-turn towards Capitalism?

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Kolkata, Sep 17: The opposite of Right is Left and also Wrong, said Editor-in-Chief of 'Pioneer' Chandan Mitra.

Saying that he wanted to refrain from calling Left synonymously with Wrong, in the panel discusion held here last night on "Has the Left taken one right turn too many", Mr Mitra, who is also the daily's Managing Director, decried the CPI(M) led West Bengal government's present stand on socialism as a failed policy.

Speaking on similar lines, former state land reforms commissioner Debabrata Bandopadhyay lambasted the CPI(M) stating, ''Marxism is dead in West Bengal. It has died in the hands of imposters who call themselves Marxists but whose real name is Capitalists.'' Mr Bandopadhyay, while speaking on the basic Marxist-Leninist policies, reiterated, ''The policy of 'Land to the Tiller' has become 'Land to the Tatas and Salims','' However, CPI(M) Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Mohammed Salim defended his party's stance saying, ''This state is not a socialist, democratic, sovereign union of Bengal, it is a part of India and we have to reciprocate according to the policies taken up by the Centre.

''People seem to support industrialisation in other states, but when it comes to West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee and the Trinamool Congress party seem to raise their fingers at us,'' he regretted.

Social activist Medha Patkar, who described herself as belonging to the "Left Biradari", felt there had been many unfortunate Left-Right-Left-Right steps taken up by the LF government here.

''They could never decide which way to go, which way would be right and which wrong,'' she added.

While Mr Mitra pointed out the different instances of where the Left Front government had taken 'wrong' turns, Ms Patkar condemned the ruling combine for 'playing' with people's lives when they began their 'campaign' of turning fertile land into Special Economic Zones, especially in Singur and Nandigram.

Md Salim, however, countered that his party did not want to be a stumbling block in the development of agriculture. ''Agriculture and industry are not opposing fields. Rather they can be complimentary,'' he said while admitting that one per cent fertile land was being utilised for SEZs. However, these were lesser fertile land and the 16 per cent fallow land was also being fully utilised for the purpose, he said.

Md Salim said it was the Left Front government that had encouraged in-depth rural reporting in West Bengal during the Emergency.

The panel discussion was part of the Statesman Awards for Rural Reporting, 2006.


UNI

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