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Doubting CPM sees embarrass ruse

Calcutta, Dec. 25: CPM leaders today insisted they were not aware if the Bengal government had got a letter asking it to disarm cadres but said if the Union home minister had indeed sent such a communiqué, it was to “embarrass” the party.

“We are yet to know whether P. Chidambaram sent such a letter as the chief minister has denied it,” a CPM state secretariat member said, a day after the missive, leaked to the media yesterday, surfaced.

“However, if such a communication indeed came from the Union home minister, he certainly acted at the behest of Mamata Banerjee who has been demanding the pullout of joint forces from Jungle Mahal. The Centre’s move is aimed at discrediting our party without checking out the ground realities in Maoist-hit areas. The home minister wanted to embarrass us.”

The letter, purportedly written on December 21, referred several times to “harmad”, a word the Trinamul Congress chief uses to describe armed CPM cadres, and spoke of “a virtual collapse of law and order” in parts of Bengal.

CPM central committee member Mohammad Salim said he didn’t know if Chidambaram had sent such a letter. “But the Union home minister has to look after his colleague and keep her in good humour. One should remember that many actions are a result of political compulsions.”

The state’s top bureaucrat, too, said he was “not aware” of any such letter. “So I can’t say whether the letter contains a term called harmad,” chief secretary Samar Ghosh said.

A CPM old-timer recalled that George Fernandes had come to Bengal as convener of the then ruling NDA to look into the state’s law and order situation to appease Mamata, who was then with the BJP-led bloc. “These are old tactics used to disturb state governments,” the leader said.

A minister from Left Front ally RSP said Mamata “wants to establish a foothold” in Jungle Mahal. “On the other hand, the CPM is using the joint forces to clear out the Maoists so they can reclaim territory there. In this battle, Chidambaram has provided political steam to Mamata by taking administrative action against our government.”

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