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WB: CPI-M to punish reform detractors
M Chhaya in Kolkata | October 17, 2005 10:48 IST
India's top Communist party, opposed to economic reforms of the federal coalition it backs, has warned its comrades against opposing sweeping privatisation in the state where it is the ruling party.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist said it will take stern action against its comrades if they opposed pro-industry moves in West Bengal, which they have ruled for almost three decades.
West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's efforts to woo foreign investors sparked a debate among his leftist colleagues over whether their poetry-loving comrade is reversing their basic ideologies.
"All those who oppose the chief minister's policies, be it a minister or anybody, will face action from the party," CPI-M politburo member Anil Biswas said.
Bhattacharya has pressed ahead with market-friendly policies at a time when his comrades, who prop up the federal government, oppose Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's economic reforms.
Bhattacharya sees hope in China, which has emerged as the world's fastest-growing economy by drawing in foreign investment while keeping political and economic control firmly in the hands of the Communist Party.
After initial conflicts, his party leadership is now backing his efforts completely. "We had earlier agreed to pursue a pro-industry line and no one had opposed then. So, why oppose now," Biswas told a meeting of the CPI-M's state committee members.
Analysts say the leftist support for reforms in West Bengal is unavoidable. Bhattacharya, they say, has risen to meet the compulsions placed upon him by the responsibilities to govern.
Some of Bhattacharya's colleagues in his government opposed to his free market policies openly spoke out against him, even accusing him of selling the interest of poor farmers – the party's main support base.
The CPI-M's decision to initiate action against anyone opposing Bhattacharya is seen as a means of stopping conflicts within the party ahead of the state legislature elections next year.