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CPM looks beyond Bengalis

Calcutta, May 26: The CPM today sought to woo Hindi-speaking voters of Salt Lake ahead of the June 19 civic polls, asking party members in the township to 'bring them close to our hearts'.

The leadership also asked the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government to ensure the safety and security of the Hindi-speaking population ' a move seen to be aimed at getting them to vote for the party.

The Hindi-speaking population constitutes a big chunk of the 99,000-strong electorate in Salt Lake (also known as Bidhannagar) where the Trinamul Congress-BJP combine is well entrenched.

'Many non-Bengali people live in Bidhannagar. They are living here peacefully and doing business. They live here because they find the area peaceful. We are also proud of them and have to ensure their safety and security so that they can live in Salt Lake without any problem. We have to bring them close to our hearts,' said state CPM secretary Anil Biswas at a meeting in a Bidyut Bhavan auditorium.

The meeting was organised by the two local committees of Salt Lake to formulate a guideline for party workers for the June 19 elections.

'Though we don't draw any line of difference between Bengali- and non-Bengali-speaking people, we must ensure their safety and security. We should try to forge better relations with them,' said Biswas.

The CPM had won the civic elections in Salt Lake five years ago by a one-seat margin, bagging 12 of the 23 wards. Eleven wards were won by the Trinamul. This time, the CPM is working hard to secure more seats. In the 1995 polls, the CPM had won 13 of the 23 seats.

The party is also trying to woo about 30,000 economically backward voters living in the areas added to the municipality. Mahishbathan and Sukantanagar were added to the Salt Lake township before the civic polls in 1995.

'We have to draw up a separate plan for these people. The government has already drawn up a project to supply electricity to the added areas of the municipality. These 30,000 people will get electricity within a year,' Biswas said.

Biswas also asked party workers to make the issue of supply of drinking water from Tallah and Palta network an election plank. 'We are also planning to develop a separate pumping station for Bidhannagar,' he said.

CPM politburo member Jyoti Basu, who also addressed the meeting, said the government had failed to check illegal transfer of land in Salt Lake.

Minister Subhas Chakraborty ' 'nobody invited me, but I came on my own' ' said he had taken upon himself the responsibility of ensuring a third consecutive stint for the Left Front by a bigger margin. 'I got the Dum Dum parliamentary seat for the party. I will do things in Salt Lake too.'

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