The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Biswas returns ‘terror tactic’ fire

April 17: CPM state secretary Anil Biswas today dismissed allegations that his party was using terror tactics to prevent Opposition candidates as well as those from the minor front partners from filing nominations for the panchayat polls.

“The allegation is baseless and concocted and an attempt to divert people’s attention from their organisational weakness as they are unable to field candidates in a vast number of seats in the rural belt,” Biswas said at the party’s Calcutta headquarters today.

CPM insiders, however, said that Biswas, who took stock of the situation arising out of the spate in allegations, was most embarrassed by complaints of “terror tactic” from the two front constituents, the RSP and the Forward Bloc.

He was also reported to have taken strong exception to the manner in which RSP and Bloc leaders “fussed” about the CPM’s alleged atrocities.

Biswas pointed out that the chances of CPM candidates getting elected unopposed were rare, contrary to allegations by the Opposition parties. “There are 713 zilla parishad seats and till today, the CPM has fielded 664 candidates. The state Congress has given nominations to 623 candidates and the Trinamul Congress-BJP combine has fielded 733 candidates.

“Naturally, there will be tough contests between the Left Front and the Opposition parties in 95 per cent seats at the zilla parishad elections. The question of CPM nominees getting elected unopposed does not stand at all,” he argued.

According to Biswas, many Trinamul candidates are not willing to contest the rural polls on their party tickets. Several Trinamul local leaders have joined the Congress, he added.

Asked what steps the CPM will take to stop infighting among the front partners over sharing of seats, Biswas said a clear picture will emerge on Tuesday, the last date for withdrawal of nominations. “We are working hard to pull out the front nominees fighting each other in some seats.”

Worried over “unbridled terrorisation” by CPM cadre on party nominees, Trinamul spokesman and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Pankaj Banerjee said they could not put up candidates in nearly 22,000 gram panchayat seats. “Reports from the districts have confirmed that the CPM is working in tandem with police to terrorise our nominees so that they stay away from the polls,” he alleged.

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