Tuesday, April 19, 2011



 A victory for the Trinamool would mean a reversal of the land reforms”

The dream of those wanting to see the Left Front government out of power in West Bengal “will remain a dream,” said Ashok Mitra, a noted economist and former State Finance Minister, on Sunday.
Questioning the call of “paribartan” (change) by the Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance, Dr. Mitra said the election reverses that the Left had suffered in recent elections in the State — the rural polls in 2008, the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and the civic polls to 81 bodies in 2010 — was not a “matter of credit” the alliance could claim for itself. “What have they done for West Bengal?” he asked at a seminar here.
It was because of certain mistakes committed that the Left parties had been put into a somewhat awkward position in these elections, Dr. Mitra observed.
“A section of the people of the State — between six and seven per cent — who have been with us in the past was piqued. This we have accepted and given respect to…We have promised to rectify our mistakes,” he added.
Coming down strongly on the Congress and its policies of capitulating to the United States and interests of big businesses, Dr. Mitra described the principal Opposition in the State as its “branch party” that had adopted the “autocratic” model of the former.
On rising prices of foodgrains and the Congress not paying heed to repeated requests by the Left parties for releasing food stocks rotting in Food Corporation of India's godowns and making it available to the people, he said Congress' policies are designed to protect the interests of the classes. The more preferable option for the party is “to dump the stocks in the Arabian Sea than giving it to the poor.”
“So if the poor of the country are to live, the Congress would have to be removed,” Dr. Mitra said.
A victory for the Trinamool would mean a “reversal” of the land reforms process that has been initiated by the Left Front “and this is a huge concern,” said economist Jayati Ghosh.
While pointing out that “the question of land is the biggest and hottest political question in Bengal,” she said the developments at Singur and Nandigram had given rise to a certain perception regarding the government's policies on land acquisition.
The government has made certain mistakes, but West Bengal is the only State in the country where the land-distribution process is still on.
“Over the last four years, nearly 20,000 acres of land has been distributed and even in 2007-2008, when Singur and Nandigram were a subject of public discussion, 11,000 acres was distributed,” Dr. Ghosh said.
“The perception that the Left Front is anti-peasant is an unfortunate and a wrong fall-out…This perception has to be fought,” she noted, while cautioning against the “emergence of corporate landlordism” in the country.
Referring to talk of bringing changes in land reforms in West Bengal in the election manifesto of the Trinamool, Dr. Ghosh said: “This a very genuine and real fear

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