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Party votes to remove MP

Calcutta, Jan. 17: The CPM state committee was forced to take a voice vote to ratify the expulsion of a member, perceived to be a lightweight MP, after some leaders questioned the timing of the move.

The expulsion of Nabadwip MP Alokesh Das from the state committee was expected to be a smooth affair after an internal probe found him guilty of “factionalism and anti-party activities”.

But some state committee members today questioned if it was wise to remove Das from the committee when Lok Sabha polls were near. They put their dissent on record, prompting the voice vote, sources said.

“Some members said it would not be right to punish him before the Lok Sabha elections. It will only help the Opposition,” a source said.

One member reportedly said the party’s poll prospects in Nabadwip and other parts of Nadia would be affected adversely and could also tell on unity in the ranks.

In his defence, Das said he had done no wrong. “I will prove my worth if given an opportunity,” he said.

Although CPM state secretary Biman Bose did not name Das, he said district committees should take strong action against “saboteurs”.

A source said the party’s decision to punish Das could be a stern warning to those encouraging factionalism when elections were near.

The CPM did not come out with any official reaction on Das’s removal.

At the closed-door meeting, CPM members also accused the CPI of “doublespeak” on land acquisition for industry.

A CPM leader hit back when the CPI leadership complained about Tamluk MP Lakshman Seth’s way of handling Nandigram. “The CPI’s role was confusing during the tumultuous months when we alone faced the wrath of a united Opposition (on land acquisition). It was difficult for us to convince voters when the Nandigram bypoll was forced on us,” he said.

Bose urged the leaders to bury their hatchet before the elections.

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