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Political conflict to harm Bengal development: Speaker
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September 19, 2008 16:51 IST

In a veiled attack on the campaign against the Tata Motors' [Get Quote] small car project in West Bengal, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee warned on Friday that a 'worst' kind of political confrontation in some states will take India back to economic stagnation.

"Economic development cannot be subjected to political muscle-flexing without caring for their destructive effect, only to suit narrow political interest...," he said delivering Assocham's JRD Tata Memorial Lecture here.

He said the 'worst form of confrontational politics' is being manifested in some states for the 'presumed benefits of some sections of the people'. This, he said, would 'only take the country back to the days of economic stagnation.'

Chatterjee's comments in the lecture entitled, 'Economic Development and Political Consensus Building' assume importance in the backdrop of incidents of political confrontation over land and other issues, including in Singur in Left-ruled West Bengal.

The Lok Sabha Speaker said development and planning for progress 'should never be the subject of mutual recrimination and attempts to weaken efforts of industrialisation on the basis of partisan approach.'

"We have to be watchful of those sections in society that are out to distract people from the path of development...

"In pursuing narrow political agenda, not only do such elements undermine the well-conceived and important schemes of development, but hurt the long term interest of the same people whom they pretend to be helping."

He said it was not realistic to assume that the development of rural India can be achieved relying exclusively on agriculture. The country needs an integrated development strategy, he said.

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