BJP to seek president's help for Singur farmers

Singur, Aug 13 (IANS) The BJP Tuesday said it would ask President Pranab Mukherjee to help farmers whose land was "forcibly acquired" for the Tata Nano car project in West Bengal's Hooghly district.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Varun Gandhi, who visited Singur - about 40 km from Kolkata - Tuesday, met farmers whose land was acquired by the erstwhile Left Front regime for the now abandoned Tata Nano car project.

"Be it the Left Front or the ruling party now (Trinamool Congress), there has been needless politics over the Singur issue at the cost of thousands of lives. We will prepare detailed petitions for farmers and will tell the president how thousands of lives were destroyed," Gandhi said.

He said the BJP would use legal experts to frame the petitions.

The automobile giant was given 997 acres of land on lease in 2007, allegedly acquired forcibly by the Left Front government, to set up the car manufacturing factory. A section of "unwilling farmers" had refused to accept the compensation for their land and agitated demanding it be returned.

The sustained and volatile peasant movement, led by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, forced the auto-maker to abandon the project here and relocate it to Gujarat.

Immediately after coming to power in the state, Banerjee's government enacted the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act 2011, to return a portion of the acquired land to farmers.

The act was challenged before Calcutta High Court, which declared it unconstitutional. The matter is now lying before the Supreme Court, which has told the auto-maker to "consider returning the land".

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