People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Sixth LF Govt. Sworn In
THIRTY-THREE Cabinet ministers and nine ministers-of-state took the oath of office at a colourful ceremony held at the Raj Bhavan in Kolkata. The cabinet was then felicitated at a rally held in front of the Writers Buildings by the coordination committee of state government employees.
Among the luminaries who attended the two occasions were Harkishan Singh Surjeet, the general secretary of the CPI (M), former chief minister of Bengal, Jyoti Basu, state secretary of the CPI (M) Anil Biswas, Polit Bureau members, Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, Sailen Dasgupta, and Biman Basu. Many foreign dignitaries, artistes, sportspersons, and representative of the different chambers of commerce were also present. Going against the decision of the Trinamul Congress to boycott the swearing-in ceremony, Trinamul Congress president Ajit Panja attended the occasion.
Addressing the rally and later speaking to the media at the Writers Buildings, chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that the emergent priority of the new government would be "to be up and doing from the word go, since we have a lot of work to do in the days ahead."
Bhattacharjee came down heavily on the "malaise of procrastination" and said that the slogan should be "do it today, and do it now." Piling up of pending work, the chief minister said, "is the bane of a working administration, we shall remain aware of this danger all the while."
Bhattacharjee said that while consolidating the considerable success that the Left Front had managed to achieve over the past 24 years, the sixth LF government would deploy the "best of its political intentions and political will to make up for any lacunae that might have lingered in the realm of education, health, and development of infrastructure."
Evolving a completely transparent, fully efficient, and dynamic governance would take time but till such time, said the chief minister, "there is no obstacle on the road to making the sixth Left Front government function in a meticulously workmanlike manner at every level, and taking as quick an action as would suite the emergency of the tasks confronting it."
Expounding on the task-based priorities of the sixth Left Front government, Bhattacharjee identified the cooperative sector as a nodal point in extending irrigation facilities, procuring seeds and seedlings, and strengthening the marketing of agricultural commodities.
He said that what with the "traditional industries like tea, engineering and jute getting enveloped in a crisis, thanks to the policies of the successive union governments," one must necessarily look to exploring newer fields in place of "clinging to old mores in a rash of sentimentality."
He said such newer industries as leather and leather technology, hosiery, chemicals, plastics, and information technology would receive governmental priority. He also made it clear that attempts would continue as before to reconstruct sick and closed industrial units.
Bhattacharjee was keen to put across the importance the sixth Left Front government would place on matters concerning "E-governance" with a layered network spatially and vertically linking up the various government departments. He mentioned in passing that the state government could export computer software to the tune of Rs 700 crore over the past financial year.
Responding to questions from media persons, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said that the problem of unemployment was a national phenomenon and in the short-run, pending changes brought about in the union governments plan priorities, the attempt should be directed towards self-employment and creating self-employment groups on the basis of trade and region.
Bhattacharjee was hopeful about ameliorating conflict between workers and the management by asking the latter to listen to the workers legitimate demands while exhorting the former to bear in mind the issue of productivity, and to stay away from irresponsible behaviour, while never letting their guards down on the question of their hard-earned rights.
The chief minister said that while he would not deliberately go into a confrontation with the present union government, he would ensure that a working relationship existed in the overall context of the constitutional framework. He called for cooperation of the opposition groups in the state towards putting an end to all political violence.
In his address to the rally, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee described the Assembly elections this year as "an ordeal by fire," and added that it was direct confrontation between anarchy, violence, and communalism on the one hand and peace, rule of law, and development on the other. The verdict of the people is bereft of any hesitation as to which of the clusters of slogans they have chosen to prefer by overwhelming odds.
Describing the manner in which the mass of the people allowed the Left Front to sweep the polls, Bhattacharjee said that over the past 24 years, the main architects of the succession of victories of the Left Front were mazdoors, kisans, along with all other sections of the democratic-minded populace of the state.
Leaders of the state government employees associations, including the general secretary of the coordination committee, Smarajit Raychoudhury, also addressed the rally.