Left Front will return to power: Buddhadeb

Kolkata: Unfazed by political rivals Trinamool Congress and Congress coming together to fight the Assembly election in West Bengal, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on Wednesday said the Left Front would win by a `comfortable majority` to form the eighth government.

Aiming to boost the morale of Left Front workers in the state where a change in the government is widely predicted, Bhattacharjee said, "Politics is not a simple arithmetic and two plus two is not always four."

Asked at his press conference what made him predict a comfortable win, particularly after the humiliating defeats the Left has suffered in the recent elections, he asserted, "You should keep in mind that those who voted against us in the last Lok Sabha and municipal elections have changed their mind."

Bhattacharjee claimed that no anti-incumbency factor would be able to work against the Left Front and cited previous elections in which it had successfully overcome anti-incumbency.

He said that despite the "big hype" Trinamool had no chance of wresting power.

"We knew that their alliance will come into being despite hitches and our poll strategy has been formulated accordingly," Bhattacharjee claimed.

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Ridiculing the Opposition`s call for `change`, the chief minister said, "Should they want a change in land reforms which gave 84 per cent land to land-losers under the Left Front regime, or change in industrialisation or still change in the midday meal scheme?"

"Do they want a change like the way the Railways has brought about?" Bhattacharjee said, apparently pointing a finger at the performance of Mamata Banerjee as Railway Minister.

"People are watching how the Railways is functioning. The six Trinamool Congress ministers of state at the Centre are simply loitering around and are like non-performing assets in closed factories," he said.

He claimed that people who voted against the Left Front were returning to it. "We want a change too and that is the change for the better."

Asked if he was taking the onus upon himself for the mistakes committed by his government in the acquisiton of farmland for industry and the high-handedness of a section CPI-M leaders, the chief minister said, "When there is a criticism, I cannot be left out because I have a role in policy making."

He said there was some confusion in the acquisition of land because of some policy loopholes which, he pointed out, had later been corrected.

"We are also criticised for doing nothing for the minorities. But now we have taken steps for their upliftment like reservation of jobs for poor Muslims."

Admitting to undue interference by a section of party leaders in civil society`s day-to-day affairs, he said, "Ours is a big party. Mistakes by some cause harm to the party. We have asked party workers and leaders to admit the mistakes and show respect to the people."

Interference in civil society`s affairs would not be tolerated and party leaders have been told to abstain from high-handed and domineering attitude, Bhattacharjee added.