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Front twins battle over bandh

Balagarh (Hooghly), March 25: The CPM and the CPI — constituents of the ruling Left Front — crossed swords in public over the 24-hour bandh called today to protest against yesterday’s police firing in which three youths were injured.

While the CPI mobilised its cadre since morning to make the bandh a success, hundreds of CPM activists took to the streets to foil it, ignoring the Alimuddin Street mandarins’ whip to maintain unity among Front partners before the panchayat polls.

Taken aback, the administration found it difficult to tackle both pro- and anti-bandh supporters. “Belligerent CPM supporters behaved like the Opposition Trinamul Congress to foil the CPI-sponsored bandh,” said a police officer on duty.

Senior CPM leaders in the district lashed out at the CPI and described the bandh as “uncalled for”.

“This is a non-political issue. The CPI called the bandh simply to make its presence felt in the area… We feel the police were justified in opening fire to quell a mob of drunken youths who had torn our national flag. It is regrettable that the CPI is being run here by some influential liquor traders,” complained CPM zonal secretary Firoze Hussain.

Stung by the CPM’s “irresponsible statements”, CPI Hooghly district secretary Priya Ranjan Pal said the Front “virtually does not exist at the grassroots due to the CPM’s big brotherly attitude”. “We don’t want to learn from the CPM on what issues we should call a bandh,” he said.

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