Capitalism must for industrial progress: communist chief minister


Kolkata : Reformist communist Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has said there is no alternative to the capitalist system if industrial process is to be carried forward in Left Front-ruled West Bengal.

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“There is no alternative to capitalism if we are to take forward industrialisation here,” Bhattacharya said Thursday night.

“We say humbly that after assessing everything there is no way out but to follow the capitalist path,” he said, putting to rest the likelihood of adopting the socialist model of development by the world’s longest serving democratically elected communist government.

“There is actually no way out if we are to bring in capital. From where will we get the money otherwise?” he asked, speaking at a function to mark the 42nd anniversary of Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)’s Bengali daily Ganashakti.

Prior to the last Assembly election in West Bengal, in which the Marxists returned to power for the seventh consecutive term with a thumping victory, Bhattacharya had admitted that “what we are doing here (Bengal) is not communism”.

Bhattacharya, whose reform process and policies of farmland acquisition for industry triggered violent protests in 2007, is a strong votary of reforms to keep pace with the capitalist global economy.

Smarting from the backlash over farmland acquisition for various projects, Bhattacharya said his government would take utmost caution in future before such acquisitions.

“We will take extreme care in choosing land for industry after assessing the character of the plots. We will offer adequate compensation to the farmers and rehabilitate the displaced people properly,” the chief minister said.

“Industrialisation in West Bengal would not be exclusive of the poor farmers and land losers but inclusive of their betterment.”

He said his government is trying to upgrade agriculture in the state too.

“We think there is lot more to do on the agricultural front. Even land reform is not complete in West Bengal.”

Bhattacharya, recovering from a spate of negative publicity over the Singur small car project of the Tatas and the spiralling violence in Nandigram after a special economic zone (SEZ) and chemical hub plan went awry in the face of villagers’ protests, is on a drive currently to correct his own image as well as that of the government and the party.