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Numbers with Subhas

Calcutta, Nov. 2: Subhas Chakraborty, at the centre of a storm for his alleged links with hatkata Dilip, is well entrenched in the CPM with the numbers on his side.

CPM officials said today a new configuration in its North 24-Parganas unit puts Chakraborty in an unassailable position, with most members likely to stand by him if there is a move to 'punish him' for his alleged links with Dilip.

Like in 2002, around 90 delegates from the district will attend the party conference for North 24-Parganas at Kamarhati in February.

Chakraborty is likely to get the support of over 60 delegates after he buried the hatchet with Amitava Nandi, the party MP from Dum Dum.

Jyoti Basu helped him build bridges with Nandi, a powerful player in district politics, before the Lok Sabha election in May.

Till the two leaders joined hands to wrest the seat from the BJP's Tapan Sikdar, the camps of Chakraborty and the Nandi-Amitava Bose combine were at daggers drawn.

Until Dilip, Bengal's most-wanted criminal, was arrested, the CPM leadership was happy with the new equation.

But it now realises that the new combine, which enjoys Basu's blessings, can make it difficult for the state leadership to adopt any resolution at the February conference if it does not like it and chooses to block its passage by voting (60 votes are needed).

Knowing this, the leadership seems to be in two minds over taking any action against Chakraborty.

CPM sources said the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government had been virtually forced to accept the allegation of 'police excesses' levelled by important party functionaries like Tarit Topdar and Amitava Nandi, both MPs, and Chakraborty in the Avtar Singh arrest case.

Salt Lake subdivisional police officer Humayun Kabir was transferred yesterday under pressure from this group and some other district CPM functionaries who are part of the government.

CPM insiders said the party would have been in trouble if Kabir had been given a free hand in interrogating Dilip and others arrested recently.

Dilip, they said, was never a Chakraborty man: he was allegedly 'active' during the general elections and the June 27 municipal polls when Nandi, a first-time MP, took a lead role in overseeing the exercise.

A section of the district party, the sources added, is demanding that secretary Amitava Bose be replaced.

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