The Nano plant at Singur would have helped him retain his image of being the Left's poster boy for reforms.
Now, almost 5 years later, the silence around the abandoned Nano factory at Singur perhaps best explains what's gone wrong for the Left.
NDTV visited Singur but was stopped from entering or filming the Tata plant at Singur, located on the Kolkata-Delhi highway.
The guards told the NDTV team that the land still belongs to the Tata group even though all the machinery were taken out long back.
NDTV found the man who was the first to challenge the Tata group: Becharam Manna, a former jute mill worker and now a Trinamool candidate from Haripal, Singur's adjoining constituency.
Manna says if Trinamool comes to power, 400 acres of land from the Nano plant site would be returned to its owners. But what about the thousands of jobs that the project was expected to create?
"The Railway Ministry will build a factory here and give jobs," said Becha Ram Manna, leader Trinamool Congress.
Dr Udayan Das, a CPM supporter who runs a nursing home in Singur, says the Nano project was an opportunity that was lost.
Bengal's loss was Gujarat's gain.
The Nano project was meant to create over 10,000 jobs, both direct and indirect employment.
More importantly, for Bengal, it would have improved the investment climate.
"I run a nursing home here. It has taken 4 kathas of land to build to set up that nursing home. But we provide jobs to 50 families. In case of an acre of land only 4-5 persons can get employment," said the CPM supporter Dr Udayan Das.
Udayan, the son of three-time CPM MLA from the area, is part of a pro-industry group who have written to the Tatas to come back to the state.
In August 2008, Mamata Banerjee sat on a dharna that not only made the Tatas leave Bengal but could well alter the course of the politics in the state.