The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM tells Thackeray to keep off

Calcutta, Sept. 27: Reacting sharply to Bal Thackeray’s criticism of Buddhadeb Bhattarcharjee for the government’s opposition to yesterday’s bandh, the CPM told the Shiv Sena chief to mind his own business.

The Left Front had opposed the bandh, called by the VHP in protest against the Swaminarayan temple attack. The bandh, which was supported by the Sena, had little impact in the state.

The Sena chief said in Mumbai “Buddhadeb’s effort to foil the bandh would have shamed Bengali revolutionaries like Subhas Chandra Bose, Khudiram Bose and Bipin Chandra Pal”.

Cut to the quick, CPM state secretary Anil Biswas said “Buddhadeb will not learn from Thackeray about the glorious past of Bengal and its heroes like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Khudiram Bose. Buddha and we in the CPM know our Bengal and its illustrious sons and daughters better than Thackeray. It will be better for the Shiv Sena chief to concentrate on the state to which he belongs and not make comments on Bengal”.

Bhattacharjee himself refused to comment. “I feel it below my dignity to react to what Thackeray has said about me,” he told The Telegraph at Writers’ Buildings.

Thackeray has in the recent past not issued any statement either about Bhattacharjee or the Bengal government. Sena and VHP activists in Bengal were happy that some pockets, including the CPM stronghold of Burdwan, had responded to the bandh. Parts of North and South 24-Parganas also heeded the call. Shops and business establishments were closed in Burdwan town.

Political observers feel that Thackeray, who has never shown any interest in Bengal politics, probably heard about the success of the bandh in Burdwan from his party cadre and this prompted him to issue the statement against Bhattacharjee.

Intelligence reports indicate that Sena, VHP and the RSS have gained strength in North and South 24-Parganas, Malda, Murshidabad and Cooch Behar. The bandh was partial in Murshidabad, which has stunned many CPM leaders.

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