The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Big Brother’ turns heat on RSP

Calcutta, May 14: The state CPM will conduct a probe into the role played by partner RSP during Sunday’s panchayat elections in Malda and Murshidabad districts where the Front has lost control this time.

The Murshidabad CPM and a section of the state party leadership have calculated that the Left Front, as a whole, has lost a considerable number of seats in the zilla parishad and the panchayat samities in the district as a result of the candidates put up by the RSP against the CPM.

The Front partner had failed to reach seat-sharing deals with the CPM, accusing it of a “Big Brother” attitude.

The RSP had violated the norms for distribution of seats among Front constituents and fielded its nominees against official Front candidates in Murshidabad and Malda, said a senior state CPM leader on condition of anonymity.

“Naturally, the Opposition Congress bagged all those seats where the CPM and the RSP contested each other due to a split in the Left votebank. Usually, the Left parties win seats due to the split in the anti-Left votebank as the Congress, Trinamul Congress and the BJP contest against each other. But this time, the scenario is just the opposite,” he said.

The CPM is also not buying the RSP’s argument that its organisational strength has increased considerably in Murshidabad over the past five years.

“The RSP had obtained 257 seats in the panchayat samities in the 1998 elections. But this time, they have got only 212 seats. In the zilla parishad segment, they have lost 6 seats this time. How can the party claim their organisational strength has increased' The RSP had demanded more seats on the argument that they have strengthened themselves. But the election results have proved their claim baseless,” said the CPM leader.

The results also seen to have woken the RSP leadership to the ground realities. “It will be difficult for the party to run the organisation once we place ourselves outside the Front,” admitted RSP central secretariat member Sunil Sengupta.

Asked about the probe, state CPM secretary Anil Biswas said they were considering the issue. The party leadership is learnt to be cut up over the role played by the RSP during this panchayat elections.

A section of CPM leaders feels the Front will not face any major threat if the RSP quits it. “They (RSP) are not quitting the Front and at the same time doing harm to the coalition. We want them to change their attitude towards the CPM and the Front. The RSP will find it difficult to face the Opposition independently once they really quit the Front,” the senior CPM leader pointed out.

Murshidabad CPM secretary Madhu Bag said his party had helped the RSP by providing cadre to run the poll campaign, only to be stabbed in the back.

“We had given 10 seats in the zilla parishad to the RSP and also deployed our own party cadre to campaign for them. Instead, the RSP conducted campaigns against us and helped the Congress win seats. The RSP in Murshidabad did not hesitate to put up posters against us during their campaign. We have all the documents and we will be able to substantiate our observations,” Bag said.

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