The “silence of the graveyard” has engulfed Nandigram and Singur in the past decade, West Bengal’s former communist Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said on the eve of the state’s second phase of Assembly polling. The ailing 77-year-old also referred to the ongoing vicious standoff between the ruling Trinamool and the opposition BJP as former ‘cunning conspirators’ now divided and slinging mud at each other.
Around 15 years ago, the Trinamool’s Nandigram and Singur movements against forcible land acquisition for industrialisation eventually cost Mr Bhattacharjee his job and the communists their 34-year-old government. These also catapulted Mamata Banerjee into the centre stage of West Bengal politics, installing her in the Chief Minister’s chair in 2011.
Nandigram goes to the polls on April 1 with Ms Banerjee locked in battle with BJP poster boy Suvendu Adhikari, her former minister. The two main rivals, the BJP and the Trinamool, have been involved in a months-long vicious campaign against each other.
“The silence of the graveyard has engulfed Nandigram and Singur. The conspirators of that cunning drama are divided today and slinging mud at each other,” Mr Bhattacharjee said in a statement shared by his party on Monday, condemning the communal politics of both the BJP and Trinamool.
“The environment of communal amity which was the pride of Bengal has been turned poisonous. On one hand, you have the despotic Trinamool and on the other the BJP’s destructive and capitalistic economic policy, its divisive politics, and communal polarisation, behind which there is the dangerous ideology of the RSS. The result is the destruction of this state,” he said.
Recently hospitalised for respiratory distress, he had not made any political statements till yesterday. Appealing to voters to choose the Samyukta Morcha of the Left, Congress, and the Indian Secular Front, he rued what he said was the decline of agriculture and industry under the Trinamool regime.
With even the state government not generating jobs, the veteran leader said, talent was moving out of the state.
“The dreams of the youth are shattered, the education sector is blackened, and healthcare, which is any way out of reach of the poor, has collapsed,” his statement said.
West Bengal’s last communist Chief Minister also called out the state’s alleged “corruption, extortion, and syndicate raj” besides the anti-socials who had destroyed women’s safety, savings, and self-reliance.
“The election to the 70th assembly in Bengal has started. This election is a turning point in Bengal politics. the current situation has to end. It is time for the people of Bengal to turn around,” he said, appealing to the voters to “make every Samyukta Morcha candidate victorious”.
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