New Delhi, Mar 11 (UNI) In his first formal encounter with the national press, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today claimed that the LDF's uninterrupted 27-year rule in his state was not because of ''scientific rigging'' but due to efforts to make the state number one in production of rice, fish, vegetables and to keep communalism and casteism at bay in the country.
Participating in the ''Meet the Media'' programme, organised by the Press Club of India, Mr Bhattacharjee, however, admitted that the state faced some problems, in particular, the Naxal and Maoists violence and infilteration from Bangladesh, among other things.
''The LDF is coming back to power in West Bengal under the leadership of Mr Bhattacharjee as the CM. The LDF, which assumed power in the state in 1977, will continue to do so as it has been successful in land reforms, agriculture, welfare of workers, teachers and industrial labourers,'' said Mr Sitaram Yechury.
The Chief Minister said over 80 per cent of the farmers, workers and teachers were supporting the Left Front.
''You vist the state and see the rural pockets, you will see how the lives of the people have changed due to implementation of land reforms.'' He rejected the suggestion of a newsperson that the Election Commission was exceeding its brief by removing the state officials and putting outside observers to ensure free and fair elections in the state. ''No, I do not think so.. the EC is doing its job, we are doing our own,'' he said.
He confronted another journalist, saying, ''not even a District Magistrate or the SSP have been sent outside the state.. Only 17 odd lower rank people have been punished.'' Answering a question pertaining to a ''dichotomy'' in the backdrop of his advocacy for FDI in his state while the party's opposition at the Centre, he quipped, ''who told you so. Please read our literature on the issue.'' Referring to the US Amabassador in India.. writing to him on his anti-US stand on Iran violating diplomatic norms, Mr Bhattacharjee said ''while I condemn the US as a war, monger, but greatly admire its universities, scientists, teachers and intellectuals.'' To a question on his seeking FDI from the US, he said, ''I have visited Japan, italy, Singapore and lately Vietnam for the purpose, sometimes it materailises, sometimes not. I can go to New York again for the purpose.'' On differences in the party regarding the FDI, he said, ''there is none, we may differ.. but we debate and ultimately decide by a consensus.'' UNI KSA PA KN1907