Govt must move on industrialisation track "cautiously

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Kolkata, May 27(UNI) Close on the heels of the reverses it suffered in the rural polls, the ruling Left Front in West Bengal today urged the state Government to move on the industrialisation track ''cautiously and steadily''.

Learning from the experience of people's ire over land acquisition, particularly in areas like Nandigram and Singur where the Left got severe drubbing in the recently held panchayat elections, the Front also decided to take people into confidence while setting up industries.

''The Front partners are unanimous that industrialisation is necessary and the process should continue. But we advise the Government that it should be cautious and steady,'' Front Chairman Biman Basu said after a meeting of coalition partners.

In the meeting, which was the first after the three-tier panchayat elections, the Front discussed the Left disunity and the impact of land acquisition--two major factors for the unexpected poor show of the coalition--and agreed to control the damage before the coming elections.

Despite maintaining overall dominance, the CPI(M)-led Front lost control over many panchayat samities and gram panchayats to the opposition, particularly the Trinamool Congress to a magnitude, never seen in its three-decade reign.

In reply to a question, the Front Chairman, however, denied that the process of industrialisation would be slowed down. '' Moving cautiously and slowing down the process are not synonimous. We have to go ahead on the basis of the experiences we have gathered,'' he said.

Mr Basu, who is also the state Secretary of the CPI(M), admitted yesterday that the Front had failed to carry out a proper campaign and reach the people with its message on industrialisation.

While widespread disunity within the Front and lack of seat adjustment was identified as one of the key factors for its poor performance, the partners also resolved at today's meeting to bury the hatchet and reunite--starting the process before elections in 13 municipal bodies in the state next month.

''All the constituents would take initiative to end the strained relation that exists among us. We have decided to fight as the Left Front in the municipal elections in ten districts to be held on June 19,'' Mr Basu said.

He stressed that the candidates of the Left Front partners would be finalised through discussions, even at the bipartite level, if necessary.

The issues of industrialisation and acquisition of land had brought to the surface a fissure within the Front as partners like the Forward Bloc, RSP and CPI questioned the manner of implementation and accused the Government as well as the CPI(M) of being hasty.

The divide was more pronouced after the March 14 police firing in Nandigram in which 14 farmers were killed.

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