The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Basu ticks off big brother

Calcutta, Dec. 2: Sensing that cracks are developing over critical issues in the otherwise monolithic Left Front, Jyoti Basu today asked Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government and the CPM to pull up their socks.

Almost chiding the CPM leadership and the ministers, the former chief minister said both the party and the government would have to make it a practice to formulate decisions on important issues only after consulting the Cabinet Core Committee and all Left Front partners.

Basu’s remarks came as a boost to Front constituents, including the CPI and the RSP, who were peeved with the CPM for taking decisions on major issues without consulting them.

Addressing a Front meeting at the CPM headquarters on Alimuddin Street this morning, Basu mentioned the recent “controversial court fee hike” by the government through an Ordinance and asked the leadership to place the issue before the core committee and the Front.

“We are working on the basis of cooperation and mutual understanding. Why don’t we place debatable issues before the Front and discuss them with the Cabinet Core Committee before making a final decision'” Basu asked.

All constituents pledged support to Basu, who is considered the final arbiter in the CPM as well as the Front. It was decided that all of them would formally submit their observations on the decision to raise court fees in writing by December 6 to Front chairman Biman Bose who will forward them to Bhattacharjee.

The hike had angered all Front constituents, who were displeased not with the decision to increase the fees but by the magnitude of the raise.

Common people would not be able to afford legal help, they argued, adding that many would avoid going to court and opt for out-of-court settlements.

The Front partners also discussed ways to improve their relationship and stressed on the need for regular meetings at the district level. Some of them accused the CPM of “adopting an arrogant attitude towards minor partners”.

Bose told the meeting today that his party would play its role effectively in strengthening the Front’s unity. “At the same time, it is expected that all our partners will do their jobs, too,” the Front chairman said.

Bose also drew attention to the deterioration of law and order in the state as lawyers have been on a strike since November 13 to protest against the fee hike.

“The chief minister has already met the bar council members and promised to sort out the anomalies. We are inviting opinions from all our partners on the issue and will place them before the chief minister for his consideration,” he said.

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