The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Trinamul support for PDS bandh

Calcutta, Jan. 6: Mamata Banerjee today declared her party’s support for the 12-hour bandh called by the Party for Democratic Socialism on January 10.

The PDS is breakaway CPM and “it is our responsibility to strengthen the outfit so that we can form a grand alliance in future with such breakaway leftist groups,” she said at the Trinamul Congress rally today.

PDS general secretary Samir Putatunda welcomed Mamata’s gesture. “We want support from all anti-CPM and secular democratic parties for the dawn-to-dusk bandh,” he said.

“We have called the bandh to protest the government’s decision to increase court fees and impose water tax, the hike in power tariff and various other issues,” Putatunda added.

Mamata’s offer to support the PDS-sponsored bandh came as a surprise to the political circles. Earlier, she had said Trinamul would back the SUCI call for a Bengal bandh on January 27.

Political observers said Mamata will stand to gain in the panchayat polls in the event of an alliance with the PDS as it has a strong base in South 24-Parganas. Putatunda happens to be a former secretary of the CPM’s South 24-Parganas unit.

Mamata is apparently keen on roping in fringe CPM supporters who have a soft corner for the PDS.

Mamata’s support to the bandh is also being interpreted in political circles as her reluctance to forge an alliance with the SUCI and a desire to unite breakaway Marxists under its banner.

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