The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM draws dagger, BJP blames Trinamul

Calcutta, April 25: The poor turn out at yesterday’s Shahid Minar rally, addressed among others by the BJP and the Trinamul Congress chiefs, prompted the CPM to claim that the support base of the two parties was fast eroding.

“The Trinamul-BJP combine has alleged that they could not file nominations in about 20,000 panchayat seats. The venue (around Shahid Minar) would certainly have filled up if they could mobilise about half of them. That the ground remained barely half-full shows people have rejected them,” state CPM secretary Anil Biswas said today.

“Parties (Trinamul and the BJP) which fail to mobilise the minimum number of supporters at a public rally can never be in a position to nominate 58,000 candidates in the panchayat polls. Only parties having a solid mass base can do so. There is not a single village in the state without a CPM office and a village-level unit,” CPM central committee member and industry minister Nirupam Sen told The Telegraph.

He added: “No seat in Parliament, Assembly or even municipal elections remains uncontested as it is easy to nominate a few hundred candidates. But the Trinamul-BJP combine was not in a position to find thousands of candidates for the panchayat polls because of lack of organisation and support base,” Sen said.

The state BJP leadership was hard put to explain the party’s failure to mobilise supporters at its much-hyped rally. State party chief Tathagata Roy conceded that they failed to make an “all-out effort” to ensure its success.

“There were organisational problems. Besides, our supporters in different parts were prevented by the CPM cadre from joining the rally. Trinamul, too, did not mobilise their supporters,” he said.

Trinamul general secretary Mukul Roy, however, denied the BJP chief’s contention, saying the rally was organised by the BJP. “Our leaders were invited by the BJP leadership to attend the rally and they obliged. We were not supposed to mobilise our supporters,” said Roy.

Even amid the frequent sounds of discord from the front partners of the CPM, an RSP leader spoke up in support of Sen and Biswas.

“The Trinamul Congress claims that 20,000 candidates were prevented from filing nominations. Has it filed a single complaint with police, the BDOs or the district magistrates' I invited the Opposition leaders in the districts to give us details about the ‘terror and intimidation’, but they could not tell us any thing,” said Kshiti Goswami.

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