The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM puts team in charge

Calcutta, March 19: Struck by the ailment of state secretary Anil Biswas, the Bengal CPM is putting together a collective leadership of a group of four to guide the party through the Assembly polls.

Biswas is being treated in a south Calcutta nursing home after a cerebral attack last night. After a surgery last night immediately on his admission to remove a clot, another intervention was carried out this evening to clear one more.

Medically, his condition was described as “critical”.

Jyoti Basu said: “Anil’s cerebral attack is really a setback. For some time, Anil has to be relieved of the burden even if he is declared fit.”

A meeting of the state leadership was convened today to work out a strategy to cope with the emergency. The shape of the party structure emerging from these discussions is expected to be like this: Biman Bose, the Left Front chairman and politburo member, will steer the organisation with the assistance of three senior members.

Nirupam Sen, the industry minister, Benoy Konar, a veteran leader, and Madan Ghosh, who is being blooded for a possible bigger role, form the triumvirate.

Bose told reporters: “We do really feel Biswas’s absence. We will all work together at this critical juncture.”

Biswas was the single point of reference at headquarters Alimuddin Street for party functionaries. That may not be the case with a team in place but this situation is not new for the CPM.

When Sailen Dasgupta was Front chairman and was away in Mumbai for prolonged treatment, Bose performed his responsibilities without an official position.

Even before that when Saroj Mukherjee was state party chief and during the tenure of Dasgupta who followed, members of the team that will now be running the party had their grooming as organisational leaders. Mukherjee and Dasgupta were the public faces, but Biswas, Bose, Sen and Konar were the backroom boys.

Three of them are in the team that will take charge now. Unlike Biswas, who is less of a campaigner, Bose will have to go out on the stump much more frequently, which means he could be away from the headquarters when others will take charge there.

Party sources said Shyamal Chakraborty, a senior leader, will be asked to oversee the organisation in two districts ' Nadia and North 24-Parganas ' which Biswas used to look after.

CPM general secretary Prakash Karat arrived this evening and met Basu before visiting the nursing home. Another Delhi-based politburo member, Sitaram Yechury, is already here.

The two are expected to hold a meeting tomorrow with the state leadership.

The CPM has chosen to go with a collective leadership. But if one person were to be chosen, Basu knows who that should be.

“I will take only one minute to decide,” he said.


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