Calcutta, April 19: One left fuming with complaints, the other walked in ready with denials.
An hour after Mamata Banerjee left for Delhi to lodge an official complaint with deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani on “CPM-sponsored terror”, state CPM secretary Anil Biswas turned up for a meet-the-press programme to dismiss her allegations.
“The allegations are baseless. The real problem with Trinamul lies elsewhere. They are not getting candidates to put up for the (panchayat) polls since many of them have rejoined the Congress,” he said.
The CPM leader said he had gone to Khanakul in Hooghly yesterday where the local Trinamul panchayat leader who had won the election last time was not interested in contesting this time. “What can I do if Trinamul candidates themselves shun elections'” he asked.
Biswas, however, regretted that several Left Front partners would fight each other in some seats, though the CPM was working hard to iron out the differences over sharing of seats. “We want to win more than 50 per cent of the seats in the three-tier panchayat elections and we are hopeful that the people will vote for us,” he said.
Earlier, before leaving, Mamata said she would also take up the CPM’s “terror tactics” with Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee during her stay in the capital.
“Let the people of our country know how the CPM has resorted to terror tactics to prevent our candidates from contesting the elections. How can the CPM claim that there is no threat to the nominees of other parties when we are allowed to field candidates in only 60 per cent seats'” she asked.
Mamata, who released the common programme of the Trinamul-BJP for the May 11 elections with state BJP president Tathagata Roy, alleged that her party was not allowed to file nomination papers in 40 per cent of the seats.
According to her, Trinamul could not field candidates to 60 per cent of the 9,000 seats it had won in 1998.
However, she said the combine has fielded candidates in most of the 713 zilla parishad seats. While Trinamul has put up candidates in 577 seats, the BJP has fielded nominees in 115 seats.
“Not only Trinamul, the CPM has not spared its partners in filing of nomination papers. Several front partners have also become vocal against the CPM. In fact, the Left Front is no longer united like us,” Mamata said.
Roy said the CPM’s workers were not obeying their top leaders like Biswas and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “The chief minister had issued a statement a few days back urging party workers not to prevent Opposition candidates from filing nomination papers. But CPM workers are blatantly disobeying the directive, which indicates that the party has no control over its grassroots workers,” the BJP leader said.