Speakers decry Left Front's ''Right Turn''

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Kolkata, Sep 17 (UNI) Quipping the opposite of Right is Left as well as Wrong, 'Pioneer' Editor-in-Chief Chandan Mitra termed the CPI(M)-led West Bengal government's present stand on socialism a ''failed policy''.

Participating in a panel discusion here last night on ''Has the Left taken one right turn too many'', organised as part of the Statesman Awards for Rural Reporting-2006, Mr Mitra emphasised he was refraining from terming Left as being synonymous with Wrong, but took exception to several of its policies.

Speaking on similar lines, former state Land Reforms Commissioner Debabrata Bandopadhyay lambasted the CPI(M). claiming Marxism was dead in West Bengal. ''It has died in the hands of imposters who call themselves Marxists but whose real name is Capitalists,'' he said, alleging 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, underlining the state was not a ''socialist, democratic, sovereign union of Bengal,'' but a part of India and they moved 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 noted..

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 complementary,'' he said while admitting that one per cent of fertile land was being utilised for SEZs. ''However, this was lesser fertile land and the 16 per cent fallow land was also being fully utilised for the purpose,'' he added.

UNI

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