India Business
Post-Nandigram, I contemplated quitting: Buddhadeb
May 5, 2007 - 9:35:10 PM

New Delhi, May 5 - West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has admitted he had contemplated resigning in the aftermath of the Nandigram killings, but maintained a Tata car project in Singur that was also targeted by anti-land acquisition groups would proceed on schedule.

Speaking to NDTV in his first interview since the March 14 police firing in Nandigram that left 14 people dead and around 100 injured, Bhattacharya said he had considered resigning.

But when prodded further on the issue by the interviewer, said whether he had offered to put in his papers would remain a 'party secret'.

'Sometimes, as a human being I do feel like that. But it is not a question of an individual; it is a question of a mission, a question of a party's political programme,' he said in the interview to be telecast at 10 p.m. on Sunday.

'People have started believing that something is happening in this state. In this situation I just cannot leave this...,' he added.

According to Bhattacharya, the Nandigram killings 'still haunted' him, even as he blamed the administration for misjudging the ground situation. The police had fired on villagers protesting land acquisition for a special economic zone to be set up there.

Asked whether the decision to send the police to Nandigram had been a mistake, he disagreed.

'No, even today, the high court is asking why the government is not intervening. In any democracy, it is normal to ask the police,' the chief minister maintained.

Asked why he only expressed regret for the killings instead of tendering a direct apology, Bhattacharya said: 'I told them the responsibility is mine and what happened in Nandigram should not have happened.

'But, you have to go through the report of the police; you have to go through the report of the divisional commissioner. Before that, actually what happened on that particular day, I just cannot comment on that,' he added.

On the Tata motors project at Singur that also saw violent protests over land acquisition, Bhattacharya declared it was 'irreversible'.

'If I rollback on that, I cannot raise my head again,' he maintained.

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