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Party prepares for the worst

Calcutta, June 28: The Singur arrests couldn’t have been more ill-timed for the CPM, which was planning to hardsell industry minister Nirupam Sen’s “lukewarm” rehab package for the landlosers.

Moreover, the Opposition has got an emotive brush to tar industrialisation – which is already nursing a black eye from the Nandigram backlash – further.

“Already, our party’s hands are full with Nandigram. Tomorrow’s secretariat meeting is vital for us as we need to find a way to combat the situation,” a senior CPM leader said.

He expressed the fear that the Singur chapter, which the party had considered closed, could be reopened if the controversy spins out of control.

One factor that the party is hoping to drive home is that the CBI probe was ordered by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on his own. The party will contend that the central agency would not have been brought in if the government or the CPM leadership had anything to hide.

In public, the CPM went on the offensive, alleging a conspiracy to derail industrialisation and describing the rape and murder as “low-level” crime.

It accused the CBI of “political motivation” – a charge that will be difficult to establish as the agency’s current political masters at the Centre are at the mercy of the CPM.

“Dutta’s residence was 9km away from the place where Tapasi’s body was found. Despite that he was framed. It is clear now that the CBI arrested him out of political motivation,” said senior leader Benoy Konar, now acting as state party secretary in the absence of Biman Bose who is in the US. “It’s part of the conspiracy to derail the Tata Motors unit in Singur.”

Both Bose and Konar had dismissed Debu as “one of the party’s lakhs of voters and supporters”.

Konar today insisted that Tapasi’s murder was “not a political conspiracy but a low-level crime” and tried to add a twist to the tale.

“Debu was Tapasi’s relative. They might have fallen in love and the crime was committed on the spur of the moment. He was one of those who had voted for us. However, we are not sure whether he had maintained a secret relation also with the Krishi Jami Bachao committee,’’ he said.

Konar said he feared that another influential local CPM leader, Dibakar Das, “might be arrested” following his interrogation by the CBI.

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