A tussle for power within the CPM came to the fore when a group of people, reportedly backed by a faction of the ruling party, attacked the house of a promoter in Salt Lake on Sunday night. The promoter, who was allegedly involved in criminal activities, too, enjoyed the patronage of a rival CPM faction.
“Tension has mounted in the area and we will conduct a door-to-door search to net the culprits,” said additional superintendent of police, Salt Lake, Ajay Nand.
According to Nand, a group of people attacked the house of Pradip Rakshit, the promoter, and his brother, Bhola, at Nabapalli in the added area of the township. The miscreants fired several rounds from pipeguns and hurled bombs.
“Bhola had taken Rs 5,000 each from 10 local youths as deposit money for providing them temporary jobs at various construction sites in Salt Lake. But when they demanded a refund of the security deposit, Bhola turned them down,” Nand said.
Pradip, who was fired at, had a close shave. Police said there was a warrant against him for being involved in various criminal activities.
Local CPM councillor and chairman-in-council member of Bidhannagar Municipality Ila Nandi, however, said the clash erupted between two factions of the ruling party. “Those who sparked the fight used to attend meetings of CPM leaders. However, that does not mean they will escape the law,” she said.
The CPM councillor said there was a rise in criminal activities in ward number 23 of Bidhannagar municipality.
“For more than a decade, these miscreants have been involved in illegal filling up of ponds, forcible occupying of land and fisheries, and selling country liquor,” Nandi said. Unauthorised construction of multi-storeyed buildings was also prevalent in the area, she added.
According to CPM sources, another councillor of the civic body, who is also a chairman-in-council member, instigated the youths to attack Pradip’s house.
“Pradip and Bhola were close to this councillor who used to support them. However, there was a difference of opinion among them after Bhola gave a large amount of money to another councillor,” a senior CPM leader of North 24-Parganas district said on Monday.
CPM leaders feel such incidents can snowball into a major crisis within the party.