The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Party declares end of play
- CPM brokers peace and lays down code of silence that covers all, including Basu

Calcutta, Aug. 5: The CPM leadership today buried the cricket election controversy that churned the party as well as the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government.

CPM state secretary Biman Bose, in consultation with Jyoti Basu and Bhattacharjee, put in place a code of behaviour for ministers, some of whose comments fed the fire over Jagmohan Dalmiya’s continuation as Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president.

“The curtain has been rung down on the Dalmiya issue, it’s a closed chapter,” Bose said after a meeting of the party’s state secretariat today. “Henceforth, no minister or party representative will pass comments on the CAB issue. It is behind us.”

After a reasonable gap of time, the government is expected to address how best the CAB management could be encouraged to improve its working and the two can work together to develop Bengal cricket.

The CPM usually does not brief the media on the proceedings of a state secretariat meeting. However, an exception was made today to clear the air and warn the functionaries who have been crossing the party line.

A measure of the success of today’s reconciliation session was offered by Basu.

“There is no further need for any of us to place our views, either in public or in private, on this issue,” said Basu, who had asked the party to discuss the issue after the chief minister made public his strong views on Dalmiya and his re-election.

“Things have been amicably sorted out. Now no party leader or minister will talk about the CAB election. The injunction applies to me as well. The only person authorised to speak about it is our secretary Biman. Go and talk to him,” Basu added.

Apparently, Basu set the ball rolling at the secretariat on the CAB election, seeking the party’s position. “Is there any way either the government or the party can avoid recognising or working together, if necessary, with the present CAB management which came to office by virtue of winning a free and fair poll'” a source quoted Basu as asking the meeting.

The chief minister, according to another source, largely confined himself to citing one or two reasons that made him feel why Dalmiya “had not been successful as a sports administrator”.

Keen on bringing down the temperature, neither Basu nor Bhattacharjee made any reference to the strong remarks.

None in the secretariat, including Basu, saw anything “drastically” wrong in Bhattacharjee’s pre-election approach manifested in the fielding of police commissioner Prasun Mukherjee as challenger to Dalmiya, though some felt it could have been avoided.

It was Bhattacharjee’s post-election comments that the secretariat found hard to accept. Industry minister Nirupam Sen reportedly told the meeting that the comments helped create a distorted impression of the government among the people.

Overall, the leadership felt that the comments sprang from “an emotional response” and the government should move on, focusing on bigger issues that need its attention.

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