The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM slams Bloc for pro-landlord slur

Calcutta, Dec. 29: Sparks flew between two Left Front partners today when the CPM reacted to the Forward Bloc’s description of it as a “party of landlords”, their supposed enemy No. I.

State CPM secretary Anil Biswas led the assault on the often-aggressive front partner today. The Bloc’s “pro-jotedar (landlord) label — a taboo in the Left’s political matrix of rural Bengal — on his party and its recent pronouncements against the communists would strengthen the anti-front forces, said Biswas.

“What the Forward Bloc leaders said yesterday about our party is unprecedented and pathetic. For the past few months, they have been making irrelevant statements about us, which, we feel, will strengthen our rivals like the Trinamul Congress, the BJP and others,” Biswas said at the state party headquarters on Alimuddin Street.

Bloc leader and agriculture minister Kamal Guha, who had kicked up a row on McKinsey’s role in preparing a roadmap on agriculture marketing, slapped the “pro-landlord” label on the CPM at the state conference of the Agragami Kishan Sabha, the party’s farmers’ wing, at Kamarpukur in Hooghly yesterday.

Sunday’s was the first serious incident in recent times of front partners clawing each other in public.

Joining issue with Biswas, Bloc state secretary Ashok Ghosh said: “I am surprised….. I wish he had not forgotten norms and criticised us this way.”

Ghosh added that he had expected Biswas to invite him and the other Bloc leaders for talks on the issue instead of issuing statements. “We could have sorted it out ourselves,” he said.

“We shall not take it from him because we are a part of the ruling front and we know very well who are our foes and friends in politics.”

The war of rhetoric within the ruling front may prove dear in the run-up to the panchayat polls, observers said.

Biswas said the CPM made its feelings public only after it realised that some constituents were “needlessly attacking us”.

Apparently, the CPM leadership chose not to spare the Bloc after it learnt that the CPI leadership had taken a rather soft line towards it at its rally at the Brigade Parade Grounds this afternoon.

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