Calcutta, June 20: Controversy-courting CPM leader Subhas Chakraborty today mocked suggestions that the police action in Salt Lake yesterday during the civic polls was an attempt by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to present an impartial face.
Asked if he thought this was the first time the Left Front administration had acted in an even-handed manner in an election, he retorted: “We are all part of this dirty system. How can one escape responsibility by ordering police action in Salt Lake'”
The sarcasm will cut a deep wound in the chief minister as well as the CPM leadership that has supported the police action in which Amitava Nandi, a party MP, and Joykrishna Ghosh, a close aide of Jyoti Basu, were injured.
Anil Biswas, the party’s state secretary, today mounted a damage control exercise with a visit to Basu’s residence to explain to him the circumstances in which the police action took place, the batons “accidentally” landing on Nandi and Ghosh.
Basu had condemned the incident in strong language wondering how his party’s government could unleash the police on its own members.
As representatives of the anguished section of the party unit in the North 24-Parganas, of which Salt Lake is a part, Chakraborty, who is also the transport minister, and Nandi met Basu today.
When they emerged from the meeting, they ran into Biswas, waiting to see the former chief minister.
Later, Biswas said: “I meet Jyotibabu periodically. Today, we discussed a few issues, including Sunday’s civic polls.”
Sources close to Biswas said he also told Basu that the administration could not sit idle when rules were being flouted. Nandi and Ghosh had tried to unlawfully enter a booth.
Basu did not utter a word today in public.
Asked about his predecessor’s comment that the police action could not have taken place without Writers’ Buildings’ sanction, the chief minister said: “Is that so'”
Has the incident helped establish his image as a non-partisan chief minister' Bhattacharjee said: “Watch out for my article (in party mouthpiece Ganashakti) tomorrow (Left Front’s 28th anniversary).”
Chakraborty would not speak about yesterday’s incident but, asked if he had been censured by the party, he said he had nothing to fear.
“Is there anyone senior to me in the Left Front save Jyoti Basu' I have been a minister for 23 years running, having joined the party in 1952, and continue to be a state committee member since 1971. I have nobody to fear,” he said.
Senior CPM leader and Left Front chairman Biman Bose sought an administrative inquiry into yesterday’s incident.