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Siege within: bloody infighting may undo CPM

The organisational network of the CPM seems to be crumbling on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls,apparently under the stress of internal bickering.

Written by Bidyut Roy | Kolkata |
March 25, 2009 2:12:03 am

The organisational network of the CPM seems to be crumbling on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls,apparently under the stress of internal bickering.

Just two weeks before the Left Front announced its list of candidates,a section of East Midnapore district CPM committee members sent a message to the Alimuddin Street headquarters urging that the sitting CPM MP Laxman Seth should be dropped. The top bosses,however,did not pay heed and announced Seth’s re-nomination.

Soon after,Nanigopal Koyal,a former CPM representative in the Zilla Parishad,quit the party alleging Seth a ‘villain’.

In another case,Alokesh Das,a sitting MP from Nabadwip (renamed as Ranaghat after delimitation) was not given a ticket. Subsequently,his followers stayed off the Lok Sabha campaigns for the party. The party earlier had taken action against Das by keeping him out of the district committee for ‘violating party diktats’.

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On March 15,a student leader of CPM was killed in a clash while several others were injured. Initially the party accused the Trinamool of murder. But party sources say the murder was a sequel to clashes between two groups of miscreants backed by different factions of the party in Barrackpore.

In another recent incident,the CPM district committee of Hooghly issued a circular to all cardholders in the district that they support the party in the LS polls. The circular was necessitated due to the rivalry between two factions,one led by Rup Chand Pal,sitting MP from Hooghly and another by Arambagh MP Anil Basu. It is feared that Basu’s supporters will not participate in the polls.

Further,the two districts of North and South 24 Parganas have been facing bitter rivalry among cadres,often egged on by leaders like Transport Minister Subhash Chakraborty or the sitting MP from Dum Dum,Amitava Nandi. Recently,clashes between two groups caused death of two local leaders at Durganagar,close to Nandi’s constituency. The CPM district committee sent a report about the incident to party headquarters but the senior leadership avoided any action,fearing it would precipitate enmity on the eve of polls.

Early this month,there was another clash between two groups — one representing the CITU and the other,a local CPM unit in Salt Lake. In the clash,a CITU office was set on fire by CPM cadres.

The party bosses are panicked that the Trinamool and the Congress alliance might cut their vote bank taking advantage of infighting within the party.

Significantly,many of CPM’s voters did not support the party in recent Bishnupur (west) and earlier in Nandigram Assembly bye polls. “We had to face internal bickering at the time of candidate selection. So a non-descript person was selected,” said a senior party member in South 24 Parganas.

According to party insiders,reports are pouring in daily from the grassroots that a section of cadres are apathetic to taking up election jobs. Even though state secretary Biman Bose has asked all district committees to create booth committees in all the 62,000-odd booths,report says grassroots-level workers have responded only marginally and all the committee could not be formed.

“It is a very difficult task to motivate such a large number of cadres because all of them are not whole timers. They have other jobs for their livelihood,” said Binoy Konar,a CPM central committee member and an election strategist for the party. He,however,admitted that some grassroots workers are quitting the party due to dissatisfaction.

“Some opportunists have infiltrated the party’s ranks,they are going back to their origin,” said Konar.

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