'Who wants parivartan?'
'Foreign forces' have joined hands with opposition parties in West Bengal to overthrow the Left Front government, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told a massive Left Front rally on Sunday.
Kicking off a virtual campaign for the assembly polls due in three months, Bhattacharjee alleged that 'foreign forces' along with the Congress, Trinamool Congress and Maoists had ganged up against his government.
"Who is wanting 'parivartan' (change)? You should know a group of foreign forces are behind this move and are working with Congress, Trinamool Congress and Maoists. The BJP and Jharkhand Party are also behind it," Bhattacherjee, a CPI-M politburo member told the rally at the sprawling Brigade Parade Ground.
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Image: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty
Buddha's warning to 'foreign forces'
He said these foreign powers had worked before and are working now in different countries to see that red flags do not flutter any more.
"They are afraid of red flags. We are warning these foreign forces not to meddle into the affairs of our state."
With the CPI-M and other Left partners pulling out all stops to convert the rally against price rise and other issues into a show of strength ahead of the crucial assembly polls, all major roads in the city were clogged with supporters from different parts of the city and other districts making their way to the Maidan since early morning.
He said that challenge was not only from a combined opposition of the Trinamool Congress and the Congress, but also from Maoists.
'There is no alternative to Leftism'
"What is more worrisome is the Trinamool-Maoist nexus, which is spreading to more districts. They are killing people and destablising the state's economy," Bhattacherjee said.
Evidently happy at the huge turnout, Bhattacharjee said there was no alternative to Leftism and the coming election would give the direction, which way West Bengal would go -- towards anarchy or towards development of people.
He, however, cautioned party cadres against behaving arrogantly, which, he observed, had led to resentment among people.
'Go to the people and admit mistakes'
"I call upon them to correct themselves and go to the people and admit mistakes," Bhattacharjee said asking party supporters to fight to win the coming elections.
The Left Front, which has lost much electoral ground since the last panchayat elections in 2008 followed by the Lok Sabha polls in 2009, pitched hard to show its pro-poor image with most leaders, including Bhattacharjee, devoting much of their speeches to claims of a lot of schemes for the poor.
Admitting that his government had made "some mistakes", Bhattacherjee said, "We are rectifying them. We will win the elections."
'My government wants industry, but is keen to avoid trouble'
Referring to the issue of industrialisation and land acquisition, he said his government wanted to set up industry in Singur and Nandigram.
"My government wants industry, but is keen to avoid trouble," he said without naming Trinamool Congress, which spearheaded the Singur and Nandigram agitations.
Bhattacharjee also took a swipe at the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre, saying it was mired in corruption and scams.
'Congress is a party of the wealthy'
"Sky-high corruption has become the hallmark of the UPA government. We are fighting against such practices and will continue to do so. Congress is a party of the wealthy and is hardly bothered by the rising prices," Bhattacharjee said.
He said that the Congress, which is not taking steps against corruption and price rise is out to see that Left Front government is ousted from power.
CPI-M state Secretary Biman Bose took a dig at the media for trying to link the dictatorial rule of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak with the Left Front rule suggesting it would also meet the same fate.
'In West Bengal, there is democracy and no dictatorial regime'
"We extend our red salute to the people of Egypt for ending the dictatorial rule of Hosni Mubarak. But it is unfortunate that the West Bengal Left Front rule is also being connected with that in a section of the press. In West Bengal there is democracy and no dictatorial regime. So comparison does not arise," he observed.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee described the rally as the Left Front's 'farewell meeting' and said the 'corrupt' government was on its way out.
The rally was the left Front's last-ditch attempt to supply oxygen to a dying entity, Banerjee said and predicted, "This will prove to be a grand failure."