Monday, August 3, 2009

Mamata plays a political master stroke

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

When Mamata Banerjee chased the Tata Nano project out of Singur she was being seen as a monster standing in the path of West Bengal's re-industrialization. A lot of water has flown down the Hoogly since then and the fearsome lady who single handedly caused one of the biggest political upsets for Left in the Lok Sabha. Now she is planning to deliver the final death blows to India's longest running state government.

Mamata played a political master stroke on Sunday when she approached the Centre with a proposal to set up a Railway project of national interest on the 600 acres of land that was acquired for the Tata Motors Nano project. The Union Railway Minister also announced that disputed 400 acres of land will be returned to the farmers who were not willing to part with. The agitation regarding this 400 acre plot had led to the closure of the Tata Nano project.

The West Bengal government had so far failed to attract any major investor to the vacant plot of land since the Tatas closed down shop in last October. Mamata has been on a roll scoring one after another political victory over the Left Front. She said that the railway project would guarantee jobs, development and prosperity like the Tata project so people of Singur will not be deprived of anything due to the closure of the Tata Nano plant.

Mamata's surprise move has put the West Bengal Government into a catch 22 situation. Left's opposition to the project would mean that the party which had cleansed its image under the leadership of Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will again be tagged as being Anti-Industrialist. Giving a green signal to the project would mean offering the keys of the Writers to Mamata. This would literally mean committing a political suicide ahead of the 2011 polls.

Her 'Maa Mati Manush' campaign was strong enough to create a public wave against the Left Front and win her majority of the Lok Sabha seats from the state. Mamata has since then rewarded West Bengal under her capacity as the Railway Minister. Now Mamata wants to project herself as the future Chief Minister of the and not be seen a farmer leader standing up against industrialization. Seems like more headache for the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government.


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