WB CM apologies to CPM over 'strike' remark


Smitha Nair,CNN-IBN
Aug 29, 2008 at 11:34pm IST

New Delhi: The West Bengal Chief Minister, who is already facing Nano trouble, was on Firday censored by his own party the CPI-M. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has apologised to his party for speaking our against bandhs and strikes.

Under Pressure, Buddhadeb Bhatachrajee apologised for taking on the party line.

The Chief Minister had said on Tuesday: "I do not support anybody. Personally if you ask me, this is not helping us or our country in any way. But unfortunately as I belong to one party and they call a strike, I keep mum."

This contrary-to-the-copybook statement invited a public censure from the Politburo which snubbed the CM, hailing the right to strike as a fundamental one.

CPI-M Central Committee member, Shyamal Chakarborty said, "The Chief Minister has already been publically censored. It is a very big punishment for a communist leader and communist party member."

Already facing heat from a determined Opposition and the prospect of the Rs 1,500 crore TATA Nano Project moving out of his state, Buddhadeb clearly could not afford to open another front.

Meanwhile, the CPI-M on its part closed ranks behind the Chief Minister on the issue of Singur, dubbing the protests as a desperate political ploy, a challenge which they said they would meet head on.

CPI-M Politburo member, M K Pandhe said, "We have a common consensus for the development of the state. West Bengal has slipped from second rank to the seventh rank in development."

That's a warning the industry body, the CII too is holding out.

"If TATAs pull out, the image of West Bengal will take a huge hit. India's image too takes a huge hit and we are very concerned about that," said CII Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee.

But given the setback in the panchayat polls, Buddhadeb knows that the Opposition cannot be taken for granted. Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee is getting shriller and the rural votebank is the key. However, Buddhadeb also cannot concede the gains made in industrialisation. A small car could not have given a biggeer political headache.

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