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Buddha plays good cop, party bad cop
- CM praise for BC

Calcutta, July 1: Peace was on Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s lips on a day his party struck to a rewritten script and cried conspiracy.

The chief minister today hailed Bidhan Chandra Roy’s ability to build a “political consensus for the state’s development”, saying what the CPM wanted to say on the Congress icon’s 125th birth anniversary but would not because it balked at criticism from allies.

“I remember the late Roy all the more for negotiating with all political parties to arrive at a consensus for the state’s development. Roy perceived the need to put petty political differences aside so that the government and the Opposition could work together,” the chief minister said.

Bhattacharjee termed Roy a “visionary” — a description more in line with the comments of state CPM secretary Biman Bose who had said the CPM would observe the anniversary as Peace Day to narrow the divisions over land acquisition.

Under pressure from some allies and in-house sceptics, the CPM later changed tack and dubbed Roy an “enemy of the mass movement”.

But Bhattacharjee paid Roy rich tributes today. “I heard about his good governance from Jyoti Basu and came to know that he had great plans for the progress of the state, many of which he saw through in his lifetime.”

The chief minister was speaking at a programme organised by the Indian Medical Association, which marked the occasion — it is also Roy’s death anniversary — as “Doctors’ Day”.

CPM supporters and members were, however, in no mood to pay homage to the former chief minister as they organised a string of processions and meetings through the day.

Instead of demanding restoration of peace in the land-war zones — as had been planned earlier — they protested against the CBI’s “political conspiracy” to “malign” the party by arresting Singur zonal committee secretary Suhrid Dutta for the murder of Tapasi Malik.

Not just on Roy but in the Tapasi case, too, the CPM is trying to reconcile perceived differences between the stand adopted by the party and Bhattacharjee.

After CPM supporter Debu Malik was arrested in the case, Bhattacharjee had said he told the CBI to arrest the culprits without bothering about their “political colour”.

As chief minister, Bhattacharjee could have said little else. Besides, he had taken the initiative to announce the CBI probe soon after the murder.

“Let the CBI complete its job. Dekhi kothakar jal kothay daray (let us see where it ends),” he had said yesterday.

The restraint was in sharp contrast with the CPM’s shrill cries of conspiracy, prompting some Left Front allies to wonder aloud whether the two positions are “contradictory”.

The CPM today tried to strike a balance. “The chief minister told the CBI to move ahead in good faith and with the honest expectation that the probe will reveal the truth. But we can’t sit idle and commend the CBI after it takes a wrong path,” Benoy Konar, standing in for Bose, said.

The CPM has so far been blaming “individual CBI officers” but the party’s central leadership is now accusing a Union minister from the state of trying to influence the agency.

“He seems to be trying to join forces with Mamata Banerjee who failed to extract anything tangible from us on Singur,” a party veteran said. He indicated that the party would submit a “chargesheet against the CBI.

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