The Hindu
Staff Reporter

KOLKATA: A detailed analysis of the election manifestoes released by the major political parties in West Bengal reveals that promises made by almost all the parties regarding the two most burning issues in the run-up to the coming elections – land acquisition policy and industrialisation – are imprecise and devoid of any distinct route map as to how to solve them.

The analysis has been done by the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch – a nationwide campaign comprising over 1,200 NGOs and other citizen-led organisations that work on electoral reforms to improve democracy and governance in India.

Poll promise

Referring to the Trinamool Congress' poll-promise of massive industrialisation, the analysis states that setting up of large and medium industries would need acquisition of land but the manifesto has provided no clear idea about how the party – that had spearheaded the movement against alleged forcible land-acquisition by the State government at Singur and Nandigram -- would go about acquiring land for industrialisation or even carry out land reforms.

The Left Front's manifesto, on the other hand, appears evasive on the issue of industrialisation, according to the analysis.

“It has not been made clear whether the Left Front would show similar enthusiasm for attracting private investment in industry in next five years except mentioning that attempts would be made to expand modern industries including bio-technology and IT-based industries,” said Buddhadeb Ghosh, former director of the West Bengal Institute of Panchayat and Rural Development and member of West Bengal Election Watch. He also noted the absence of any clear-cut idea on administrative and police reforms in all the manifestoes.

While there is no discussion regarding steps to be taken for administrative and police reforms by the Trinamool Congress in spite of its promise of better governance, the Left Front's manifesto is silent on these aspects - especially with regard to matters related to accountability and transparency, according to Mr. Ghosh. Moreover, he added, there is no clarity on the parties' policies towards decentralisation of power, empowerment of local governments as well as reform of panchayats and municipalities.

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