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Communists not against reforms: Buddhadeb
May 29, 2004 15:00 IST
"Communists are not fools. They are not against reforms. What we want is what the prime minister has said about reforms with a human face," West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya said on Saturday.
He made this comment when asked whether the communists were opposed to economic reforms.
After a 40-minute meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which he described as 'a courtesy call,' Bhattacharya said West Bengal had invited and received a high dose of foreign direct investment, especially in the field of IT and communications.
Claiming that West Bengal had received 'maximum' FDI from Japan, he said leading companies like Mitsubishi and Marubeni were coming to the state in a big way. Similarly, IT giant IBM, which already had software facilities in the state, was going ahead with a major expansion spree.
On his meeting with the prime minister, Bhattacharya said he discussed the Common Minimum Programme in general terms and the 'success stories' of his state in various fields, like land reforms, agriculture and IT and communications.
"I have not come with a charter of demands for West Bengal. I am not a chief minister who will ask for packages. If we have any specific problem, we will raise it with the concerned Union ministries and not burden the prime minister," Bhattacharya said in reply to questions.
He said the state government had already started discussions with central leaders including Pranab Mukherjee and Priyaranjan Das Munsi on the Ganga-Padma erosion and problems of the jute mills among other issues.
Asked about reports that he had said the new United Progressive Alliance government would 'stand up and sit down' at the Left's directions, Bhattacharya said the report was 'distorted.'
"We are supporting this government from outside on the basis of the CMP, which has been discussed at various levels and changed at least four times. Basically, its approach in good," he said, adding "we will never allow BJP to come back to power and for that, our support is sincere."
The chief minister said FDI was being attracted particularly in those areas where it was needed.
Observing that he discussed the 'success stories' of West Bengal, he said: "I can't say our state has a model policy which the Centre should follow. National policies are far more important and have a wider perspective. But we placed our suggestions on agriculture and land reforms, besides the progress we made in IT and communications sector."
On value-added tax, he said: "Our finance minister (Asim Dasgupta) had headed the VAT Committee, whose recommendations will take some time to be implemented as there are administrative steps to be taken."