The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal poll ‘terror’ gets Advani ear

New Delhi, July 3: An NDA fact-finding team just back from West Bengal met deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani this morning and gave him a preliminary briefing on the “reign of terror” unleashed by the CPM-led government on opponents during the panchayat polls.

The final report will be submitted within seven days to both Advani and George Fernandes, the NDA convener.

The four-member team, led by BJP’s Kirit Somaiya, was sufficiently impressed with the Trinamul Congress’ accusations against the CPM, to warn that immediate corrective measures were needed to avoid a repeat during next year’s general election.

“If corrective steps are not taken now, political terrorism will continue in the next Lok Sabha elections and affect the poll outcome,” Somaiya said after a 30-minute meeting with Advani.

CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechuri denied the allegations, saying the NDA team would obviously try to pin the CPM down. “Forty-two people dies in the poll violence, 26 of them belong to the CPM. What else is there to say' Two workers of the Trinamul were killed,” Yechuri said.

The problem, he said, was not the panchayat poll, but the radical land reforms ushered in by successive Left Front governments in Bengal.

“We have distributed 11 lakh acres of land to the landless. The landowners have always hated us and are now ganging up with the Trinamul Congress, the BJP and the Congress. This is what the allegations are actually all about,” Yechuri said.

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