03 August, 2021

Opposite Acres

Saugata Roy speaks his mind on land, then sits out

Sandipan Chatterjee
Opposite Acres

Grabbing farmers’ land triggered the downfall of West Bengal’s Communists, clearing the decks for the Trinamool Congress’s march to power with Mamata Banerjee at the helm. After 22 months, land is still such a touchy issue for Mamata that any partyman talking out of turn about land is sure to be grounded, as the fate that befell senior Trinamool MP Saugata Roy illustrates.

Saugata—suave and erudite—doesn’t admit it but Mamata has reportedly given him such a dre­ssing down for blabbering in public about the non-availability of land in Bengal for new industries that he instantly resigned from the high-powered advisory council on industry. Mamata had inducted Saugata into the council and instr­ucted him to formulate a draft pol­icy for ind­ustrial rejuvenation after pulling him and five other MPs out of the UPA-II ministry in Sep­tember. Now, he is in the doghouse for defying the party line on the sensitive issue of land acquisition, and for publicly clashing with Partha Chatterjee, industry minister and a Mamata...

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