AISF leader Kanhaiya Kumar on Thursday said that what had happened at Singur and Nandigram (under a Left-led government) was wrong.
“I had been asked about my views, as a farmer’s son, on the Nandigram and Singur (land acquisition) incidents. I asked a counter question that why in Bengal does a doctor’s son want to become a doctor, an IAS officer’s son an IAS officer and a political leader’s son the same, but no farmer’s son wants to be a farmer? That is because farmers get caught in the vicious cycle of debt and very often commit suicide because they don’t get enough buyers for their produce,” he said at a convention in the city.
“My view on Singur is that what happened there is wrong. We are not against industries but our land should not be taken forcefully. The question is, if you are taking our land, what will you give us in return? Take our land, but we should also be made shareholders in the industrial unit that you put up,” he added, leaving Left leaders seated next to him red-faced.
The JNU Students’ Union president was however quick to add that Mamata Banerjee should not be given all the credit for the Singur victory. “There was a lot of difference between what Mamata had said before her ascent to power and what her actions were after she became chief minister. She displayed Left characteristics when she talked about the rights of the poor, Dalits and labour class…When she won the elections she started doing things which are exactly opposite to what she had assured before,” Kanhaiya said.
Asked why had he not come ahead of the assembly elections, when there was speculation of him campaigning for the Left-Congress alliance, he said, “I am the first learner of my family and the first to complete a PhD in the village. I had my responsibilities towards them as a student.”
The AISF leader also lambasted the BJP government at the Centre, saying that its economic policies were adding to the debt burden of citizens.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent comments that he sympathised with Dalits, Kanhaiya said, “He needs Dalit votes to offset the Muslim votes against him.”