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Top tussle deepens rifts in KPP

Siliguri, March 22: The bitter power struggle within the Kamtapur People’s Party (KPP) bubbled out in the open again today with the outfit’s Darjeeling district committee criticising the “undemocratic and unceremonious exit” of founder-president Atul Roy, who was pushed out by hardliner Nikhil Roy in a clandestine central committee meeting held at Maynaguri recently.

Several senior Darjeeling unit members even took potshots at the Nikhil Roy lobby and demanded that Atul Roy be reinstated. The district committee, which went into a huddle for the second time in less than a week since the “hush-hush removal” of the founder-president, said the KPP’s political future is uncertain in the hands of the new president.

Nikhil Roy’s surrender on Monday soon after his political coup raised suspicion that the entire thing was “orchestrated” by the police. Atul Roy and his loyalists grabbed the opportunity to hit out, calling him a “CPM stooge” in a press communiqué.

Today’s meeting raised serious objections to the manner Atul Roy was removed from the KPP helm. “It was undemocratic and runs contrary to the avowed democratic policies of the KPP,” said former central committee adviser Sunil Roy.

Terming Nikhil Roy’s surrender as “injudicious and untimely”, the Atul Roy loyalists alleged that he is a history-sheeter and will, in all likelihood, play into the hands of the CPM before the panchayat elections.

“Nikhil Roy’s fugitive status would work to the advantage of the CPM during the panchayat elections in Darjeeling district,” said Mohanlal Ganesh, the district committee president.

Reacting to the resolution in his favour, Atul Roy told The Telegraph: “The passing of the resolution and the fact that members of the Darjeeling party unit have reposed full faith in my leadership abilities will enable me to rise above petty intra-party rivalry and fight for the lofty ideals that the KPP preaches.”

Political analysts feel it would be difficult for Atul Roy to get back the president’s post since five of the party’s nine central committee members are opposed to him.

This has fired speculation that Atul Roy might break off to form his own party, an idea not dismissed by the former president.

Not willing to attach too much importance to the resolution, a senior central committee member and a Nikhil Roy loyalist said: “We do not care much for the decisions framed at the KPP's Darjeeling unit. Atul Roy was removed from the president’s post on grounds of moral depravity coupled with an overall inadequacy to steer the Kamtapuri movement.”

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