Bhattacharjee is the messiah of masses
Kolkata, May 11: A quintessential Bangali-babu and the man behind the state's political renaissance, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today established himself as the messiah of the masses.
A pied-piper of dreams of a progressive Bengal, Bhattacharjee is the political icon of the state whom people voted for as the Left Front swept the polls in its first ever five phased elections here.
Born on first March 1944, the 62-year old Chief Minister joined politics during his college days and rose in stature among the rank and file of the party.
One of the three prodigies of iconic Marxist leader Promode Dasgupta, Bhattacharjee took over the reins of the government from Jyoti Basu, who retired from active politics, in 2000 on health grounds.
Known for his straight talk and progressive outlook, Bhattacharjee pushed forward his agenda of progress and transformation, often tight rope-walking between his party hardliners and liberalists.
A member of the CPI(M) Secretariat, West Bengal State Committee, and Member of Polit Bureau,CPI(M), he joined the West bengal Cabinet in 1977 as Minister-in-Charge, Information&Public Relations Department, subsequently renamed as Information&Cultural Affairs Department. He held the post till 1982.
From 1987-91 he was the Minister-in-Charge, Department of Information&Cultural Affairs, Department of Local Government, Urban Development and Metropolitan Development Department. From 1991-93 he once again held the position of Minister-in-Charge, Department of Information&Cultural Affairs, Department of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs (excluding Fire Service Branch).
He kept gaining prominence in the West Bengal cabinet for his outspoken nature and in 1994 he was again made Minister-in-Charge, Department of Information&Cultural Affairs. In 1996 a politically mature Bhattacharjee was given the portfolio of Minister-in-Charge, Home (Police) Department, in addition to his Ministry of Information&Cultural Affairs Department and Department of Information Technology.
He catapulted to the position of Deputy Chief Minister in 1999 over several of his political contemporaries and took over the reigns of Chief Minster of West Bengal on November six, 2000. On May 18, 2001, Bhattacharjee was sworn-in as Chief Minister, West Bengal, after the General Elections to the 13th West Bengal Assembly.
A man of literature, with several publications of poems and plays, Bhattacharjee also proved to be a man of commerce who in his drive to convert West Bengal into a 'Sunshine State' brought in big investments from around the country and abroad. He made trips across Asia to garner investment and align the Asian countries with his progressive vision.
It was largely due to his efforts and assurances that IT giants like Wipro, IBM and TCS are looking at West Bengal as their next destination, while the Salem Group of Indonesia and some of Japanese multinationals are considering the state for investment.
In a man who readily accepts the mistakes the party has done in the past and promises to make amends, people find a person they can bank on. A revamp in the education policy, transportation, curbing militant unionism and an overhaul of the work-culture are some of the highs the state has seen under him.
His work has earned him praise from his political adversaries also.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh singled out Mr Bhattacharjee as the progressive face of the country, while BJP senior leader L K Advani during his visit to Kolkata for election campaign also praised the West Bengal Chief Minister.
And going by the words he spoke during an interview to a private channel, ''I have an obligation towards the people who have elected me and I will push forward with the reforms I have promised if I come to power'', hope and optimism are the only two words that the people of the state can look forward to.