Much of the sheen of the "Occupy Singur" movement in West Bengal was lost after CPI-M lawmaker Abdur Rezzak Mollah, who had given the call, opted out Tuesday apparently following a party directive.
At a seminar last week, Mollah had given the call for starting an "Occupy Singur" movement from Tuesday on the lines of "Occupy Wall Street" for the benefit of the unwilling farmers of the rural belt, from whom land was alleged to have been forcibly taken away by the erstwhile Left Front government in 2006 for the Tata Motors' Nano small car plant.
However, as Mollah kept away, various radical left outfits visited the Hooghly district spot and took out a rally.
"Rezzak Mollah had expressed his desire to join the movement. He himself had given the call 'Occupy Singur'. But the fact is that he belongs from a party which itself had occupied the land. So it may be a party directiveand he backed out from the movement," said Kartick Pal, secretary, Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist.
However, Pal refused to accept that Mollah's absence had affected the movement.
"More than 6,000 people joined the movement. Everybody has supported our movement there. What we have demanded is that the farmers of Singur should get back their land," said Pal.
Mollah, who was land reforms minister during the Left regime, is known as a loose cannon in political circles for his repeated out-of-turn remarks against a section of his Communist Party of India-Marxist leadership, especially former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and former industries minister Nirupam Sen.
During his tenure as minister, Mollah had openly protested against the procedure of land acquisition in the Singur area for the car plant.
The Mamata Banerjee government had repeatedly alleged that "Occupy Singur" movement is being covertly supported by the Maoists.
The automobile giant had to shift the plant to Gujarat following an intense peasant movement led by then opposition Trinamool Congress, which passed the Singur Land Rehabilitation and Development Act, 2011 soon after coming to power last year to return land to the unwilling farmers.
However, the government suffered a jolt with a Calcutta High Court division bench recently striking down the act for being "unconstitutional".