BJP general secretary Varun Gandhi,the in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal,was greeted by curious onlookers and not the landlosers of Singur during his first visit to the Ground Zero of anti-land acquisition movement Tuesday.
Only one farmer,who had unwillingly given up his land for the controversial Tata Motors car factory site,turned up to meet him at Bajemelia village where the maximum number of landlosers reside.
Sixty-year-old Kashinath Das had refused to accept the compensation money for the six bighas of his land acquired for the project. He,however,wants the money now. I was entitled to get Rs 18 lakh but the local Trinamool Congress leaders did not let us accept the cheque. I lost my land and my future,too. The land can no longer be used for farming,so I want my money, said Das while speaking to Varun.
I have come to know that the BJP is likely to come to power (in Delhi) in 2014. So,I have come here to inform Varun Gandhi about our sufferings of the past seven years, he added. While addressing the villagers,who had mostly gathered to closely see a member of the ‘Gandhi family;,the BJP MP from Pilibhit claimed he had met hundreds of landlosers and added that he had not come to Singur to indulge in politics but to “know about the farmers problems.
Alleging that both the Left Front and the ruling Trinamool have reaped political mileage out of Singur,Varun offered his party’s help to the “unwilling” farmers in filing petitions for compensation money.
Farmers told me they would not get compensation cheques even if they wanted to because of local Trinamool leaders. I have told my state party president Rahul Sinha to bring a battery of lawyers to Singur who will prepare individual petitions for all such farmers who want their money, he told the villagers. I will also approach the President to find a solution for their plight.
The absence of unwilling farmers from the venue could also be due to a whip reportedly issued by local Trinamool leaders to the villagers directing them not to meet the BJP leader. Trinamool leader Mahadeb Das,who is one of the unwilling farmers and had played a role in the anti-land acquisition stir,discounted Varuns visit as nothing but a political gimmick. We did not go to the meeting. What is the point? The movement started in 2006. Seven years have passed since. Where was he and his party all these years? He never had any connection with the movement and came here on a political agenda, said Das.
Meanwhile,BJP leaders said several banners of the party featuring Varun,put up at various places in the area,were damaged or removed.
Asked why the BJP MP chose to begin his political activities in Bengal from Singur,a senior party leader said it was Varuns wish and added: The Tata’s Nano factory was shifted from Singur to Sanand in BJP-ruled Gujarat. The area where the factory has been shifted has witnessed much development. On the other hand,the people of Bengal have got nothing. Varun,therefore,felt he should start from such a place where there is scope to work.