ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Letter from West BengalSubscribe to Letter from West Bengal

Cheerless Six Months

Cheerless Six Months WEST BENGAL is passing through an unprecedented crisis. The political parties in the ruling United Front, many of them torn by acute internal dissensions and without exception at their wit's end because of the complexities of the situation and the enormity of the problems, are resorting to all sorts of manoeuvres in their jockeying for position.

Long Lease for the UF

government in West Bengal has entered a very critical phase of its existence. The voting by the members of the State Assembly in the by-election to fill up two vacancies in the State Upper Chamber has exposed the erosion of the strength and unity of the UF. The two seats have been shared between the UF and the Congress. And the poll figures reveal that even the winning UF candidate failed to secure six of the coalition votes, which were cast for the Congress candidate. The defeated UF nominee lost 19 votes altogether, 18 of which went to his victorious Congress rival. Political analysts believe that the six votes lost by the UF candidate belonged to the members who are reported to have secretly gone over to the Congress in addition to the five who have publicly defected. These six, constrained to keep their switching of loyalty secret for fear of public reaction, have merely been biding time according to these sources, for a more opportune moment to make an open declaration. The 19 votes withheld from the second UF candidate, therefore, comprise 13 others who have opted for a course of action, inimical to the continuation of the present UF government. Knowledgeable circles link these manoeuvres with the recent tearing campaign jointly conducted by PSP and SSP against the Left Communists. The general body meeting of UF legislators has decided, however, to defer discussion of the betrayal till the session of the Assembly is adjourned.

Congress Served Notice

THERE is nothing like a buyers' market to stimulate industry's ingenuity in meeting customers' needs. The recession in the machine tools industry has induced manufacturers to revise their production programmes and diversify their production pattern. Investa Machine Tools, now merged with TELCO, is reported to be concentrating on machine tools for the automobile industry. And Hindustan Machine Tools has also reacted the same way. In response to the needs of the automobile and scooter units, it has adapted some of its machine tools to perform multi-operations for machining components. It has also entered into a technical collaboration agrement with Versons of Chicago for the manufacture of special purpose tools for the automobile industry.

Sharpened Edge of Politics

Sharpened Edge of Politics THE last fortnight has. witnessed a a series of confrontations on the West Bengal political stage. Most of these are bound to have more than a passing impact on the course of the political development of the State.

Government Caught Unprepared

relations. Later, in order to placate the employers' representatives he yielded to include the word 'gherao' as illustrative of coercive tactics. The AITUC position was that, if illustrations had to be given, then coercive actions by employers too should be mentioned. However, Hathi was so concerned with the threat of a walk-out by the employers' representative that in the confusion that followed he allowed the workers' representatives to actually walk out A significant aspect of the tussle LETTER FROM WEST BENGAL THE Bengali newspapers in Calcutta carried on May 5 a half-page advertisement of the United Front Government of West Bengal. The advertisement gave a catalogue of the Government's achievements in the first six weeks ending the first day of Vaisakh in crisp language, obviously the handiwork of the Information Minister, Somnath Lahiri (Right Communist), Lahiri, it may be mentioned, is one of the finest journalistic craftsmen produced by the communist movement in India, His reporting of the Bengal famine of 1943. "Queues of Death", could easily rank as a piece of literature. Clippings of his editorials in the communist daily "Swadhinata" like those on the RIN Revolt, 'rakter dak' (Call from Blood), and Gandhi- ji's assassination, 'shok noy, krodh' (Wrath, Not Mourning), used to adorn the walls of many a Bengali home in those turbulent but historic days. He, it seems, had brought to bear on the advertisement quite a good bit of his skill The claims were not exaggerated. In fact, if the fortnight following the advertisement's reference period were taken into consideration, a few notable additions could easily be made to/the list. The concluding paragraph, however, deserves to be quoted for its modesty and the new level of rapport it seeks to estab. lifch between the rulers and the ruled; "The Government is new. Its administrative experience is limited, Hence there may be in the SLC was that, of the employers' representatives, the representative of the All-India Manufacturers' Organisation (AIMO), which is one of the three employers' organisations, openly dissociated himself from the demand to make an issue of gheraos, and on the side of the workers, the Indian National Trade Union Congress agreed specifically to condemn gheraos because it did not want its rival, the AITUC, to get away with it all at the meeting.
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