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Mainstream, VOL XLIX, No 22, May 21, 2011

West Bengal — What Next?

Tuesday 24 May 2011, by Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy

The following is a piece written by S. Sudhakar Reddy, the CPI’s Deputy General Secretary, in response to the Mainstream editor’s request to pen down what he expects from the Trinamul Congress-Congress alliance that has just been elected to power in West Bengal under the leadership of TMC chief Mamata Banjerjee.

Now the elections are over in five States. The defeat of the Left in West Bengal is a big setback. Though it was expected that the Left could lose, still there is a great difference in the number of seats between TMC-Congress combine and Left. The situation needs a thorough review by the Left. There is no use resorting to blame-game but at the same time a self-critical analysis is necessary by the Left to understand the issues which alienated a large number of people from them. It would help to take proper lessons for the future.

Now Mamata Banerjee has become the Chief Minister. People have lots of expectations from her government. Large sections of intellectuals and common people expect her to improve the situation in West Bengal.

I do not want to go into polemics, which is responsible for the deteriorated law and order situation in West Bengal. But it is a fact that attacks are going on after the elections also. Political cases are getting settled with attacks and murders.

MAMATA should rise to the occasion. She should restore law and order and send a strong message that the “rule of law” will be the order of the day. She is a leader of the TMC but now she is the Chief Minister of all the people of West Bengal. Hence, the “politics of confrontation” should end and a conducive political atmosphere should be created.

The CM should have clarity on the question of industrialisation of West Bengal. Industriali-sation is necessary and land acquisition should be fair with proper and reasonable compensation to the farmers. It needs that the pending Central Legislation on Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Displaced People should be passed in Parlia-ment. Along with farmers, all those artisans, agricultural labourers and other sections of the people who will lose their livelihood with the acquisition of land should be compensated. It needs cooperation from the Opposition also. It depends on the positive initiative of the ruling front.

Drinking water, continuous supply of electricity, improvement of roads, improvement of public transport in Kolkata are some other important issues which need attention.

There is a feeling that “work culture” has to be improved in West Bengal. It needs dedication and commitment. It cannot be achieved only by circulars and coercion but needs pressure and political will.

The newly acquired power should not lead to arrogance and aggressive activity by the cadre and leaders of the ruling party. That will lead to confrontation again. Restraint is necessary as Mamata has already cautioned.

Mafia gangs should be controlled with all pressure from the government machinery. There should be no complaints of misuse of the govern-ment machinery by the ruling party circles.

Once the elections are over, everybody has to reconcile that Mamata is the CM and she should also rule carefully with grace and start a new chapter.

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