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Asim in the red in CPM report card for ministers

Calcutta, Nov. 29: The CPM state leadership today provided yet another clue to the fluctuating fortunes of ministers in Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s New Left.

Coming in for substantial praise from the party were industries minister Nirupam Sen, housing minister Gautam Deb and panchayat minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, while several of their colleagues, including finance minister Asim Dasgupta, were criticised for failing to submit the performance appraisal reports of their departments by October 31.

“We have noticed that three of our ministers overseeing industries, housing and panchayat are making praiseworthy efforts to achieve the goals set by the Left Front,” said a senior leader at the state committee meeting.

“But, I am afraid, the same cannot be said about many ministers who have not been able to turn in the self-performance appraisal reports on time.” The leader is one of the few directly responsible for keeping the party abreast of how the government was implementing the agenda of the ruling front.

Finance minister Asim Dasgupta, a star in the Jyoti Basu government, and a number of senior ministers belonging to the CPM have slipped on the time-bound assignment, but as the leader explained, kept the party informed of their failure in advance.

Observers are not surprised at the shower of encomiums on Sen and Mishra, rated as the stars of the Bhattacharjee government and expected to shoulder greater responsibilities in the days ahead.

But the position of Deb as a doer in the same category is being interpreted in terms of the internal politics of the CPM. Apparently, Deb’s fortunes had seen an upswing since his surprise induction into the state secretariat early this year. Deb’s entry into the body was apparently part of a successful move by the leadership to wean him away from transport minister Subhas Chakraborty, the resident rebel of the CPM.

According to sources, the leadership underlined the need for measures to “sensitise” the ministers on filing performance reports on time. A senior leader was entrusted with the task of impressing upon the ministers the need for compliance with the party’s directives on all issues.

The CPM leaders today admitted that they had failed to penetrate into the masses and that their failure to side with the common people was responsible for the party’s inability to mobilise an effective movement against the Centre’s decision to bifurcate Eastern Railway.

“Often, we talk about improving our relations with common people, but in reality, we have failed to reach our goal. Our failure to organise an effective movement against the rail bifurcation might send a wrong signal to our supporters and sympathisers and we should not blame them if they think that we were not very serious about preventing the Centre from implementing its decision,” a secretariat member told the leaders today.

Apart from discussing the government’s performance in the past two months, the CPM leadership also examined the party’s organisational capabilities.

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