'We have identified our mistakes'
In an interview with CNN-IBN, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said that the decision of the Tata Group to withdraw from the Singur project was a colossal one.
On the challenges faced by the Left Front:
"People understand the difference between a Lok Sabha election and an assembly election. During the Lok Sabha elections, we took a stand that the people did not accept. We told them to defeat the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party and to go for a Third Front. People did not like it.
This is state election and here one side is Left Front and the other side is the Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance. The people will judge both sides and decide. We have identified our mistakes over which a section of people got alienated from the Left Front during Lok Sabha elections and the elections to the local bodies.
There was some confusion particularly regarding land acquisition and we have rectified our mistakes."
Image: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee
'The situation has changed in our favour'
On the 2009 Lok Sabha election results:
"For the first time, the Left Front was defeated after so many years. The major reason was our decision to form a Third Front government at the Centre. The people did not accept that. That was at the national level and at the state level there were certain mistakes.
We have rectified our mistakes. So there is no need to relate both the elections again and again. People understand the differences (between the state and national elections) and what we have done so far to correct our mistakes. The situation has changed in our favour."
Image: A CPI-M rally in Kolkata
'Tata leaving Singur was a serious mistake'
On the anti-Left Front wave in the state:
"Our policy of industrialisation was the correct policy and our intentions were good. But in Singur and Nandigram, there were some serious confusion. These were exceptions.
Investment has been coming to West Bengal since 2007 and it has been increasing over the years. But we have not ignored (the crisis in) Singur or Nandigram. We have tried to correct our mistakes.
Even a section of the Left Front was disturbed. We have come up with a new land acquisition policy. After the Singur incident, we have acquired 8,000 acres of land without any problems. We have not ignored the problems but realised (the problem) at once when the Opposition started its campaign.
The (repercussions of the) Singur and Nandigram incidents spread like a fire in that area. Then we corrected our mistake. We have taken a position where the main idea is to reach a consensus first among the farmers."
On the Tata Group leaving Singur:
"When the Tata Group left Singur that went against us. That was a serious problem. I tried to persuade Tata to wait for one or two months so that the problem could be resolved. But I don't know whether there were any other motives, (but) they left that area. That was a serious mistake."
Image: Left Front supporters block a national highway in support of the Tata car project at Singur village
Photographs: Parth Sanya/Reuters
'They have gained because we failed'
On crucial election issues:
"We have to strengthen the rationing system in the state. Food security is an important issue. Then (creating) job opportunities and (maintaining) peace in certain areas of the state -- these are the top priorities for us. We have to create jobs for all sections. Peace and stability are other issues -- stability in (Maoist affected) Jungle Mahal and the hill areas are very important."
On the possibility of sitting in the Opposition if the Trinamool-Congress combine wins:
"I don't think there will be such a situation. I have not given any serious thought about stepping down. I have not found any positive ideas from the Opposition. They have gained because we failed in certain areas. Therefore we are correcting our mistakes."
Image: A TMC poster at Lalgarh in Jungle Mahal
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty