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Knives out, hiss at man who went for cobra

Calcutta, May 13: The debacle has triggered a blame game in the Left Front, raising questions about the future of the beleaguered combine.

Sources in the CPM said a section in the party had already started a debate on the “unwanted’’ role of outgoing housing minister Gautam Deb. The knives are out and chasing Biman Bose for giving Deb a free hand to launch a personal attack on Mamata Banerjee that some believe turned out to be “counter-productive’’.

“During the election campaign, Gautam was the cheerleader of our party. But what we are hearing now is that large sections of the people didn’t like his move to make personal attacks on Mamata. Some of our inactive party cadres might have liked his speeches. But on the whole, the result was counter-productive as many voters went against us after he began attacking the Trinamul supremo,’’ a CPM state secretariat member said.

“He got cracking after getting the support of Bimanda. But we will have to analyse whether this line of launching vilification campaigns are damaging for us,’’ the CPM leader added.

A senior leader of a key ally told The Telegraph that at the Left Front meeting convened after the election results were out, Bose had to face criticism for giving Deb a free run.

A question on Deb’s role in the defeat made Bose uncomfortable during a media conference that followed the Front meeting. “We have to analyse the poll results and the reasons behind the defeat,” said an evasive Bose, who attributed Trinamul’s victory to people’s trust in the change chant.

The outburst against Deb in the party and the Front was just the tip of the iceberg as the unprecedented rout prised open more cracks in the party.

Emboldened by his victory from Canning East with a 21,000-plus margin, outgoing land and land reforms minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah stirred an old controversy —land acquisition.

Gariber katha bashi holeyo shotyi hoy. Jodi amar katha shunto tahole eibhabe harte hoto na (A poor man’s words can become stale but always turns out to be true. If they would have paid heed to my words, the debacle wouldn’t have happened like this),” said Mollah, asked whether forcible land acquisition was responsible for the debacle.

During the Singur and Nandigram controversy, Mollah had told the party that the state government shouldn’t forcibly acquire land from farmers. The CPM top brass summoned had him to the party office and cautioned him against deviating from the party line.

Asked whether Bhattacharjee was responsible for this debacle, Mollah said: “Hele saap dhorte pare na, keute dhorte gechhe (can’t catch a harmless snake, but went to catch a cobra),” possibly alluding to the outgoing chief minister’s efforts to get big ticket investments.

Even as the CPM leaders tried to come to terms with the debacle, Mollah, who has crossed swords with Bhattacharjee several times in the past, made it clear that he was not surprised with the loss of the outgoing chief minister.

“Many ministers are losing. Why talk about the chief minister only?” asked Mollah.

Though Bose tried to iterate that the party and the Front would be united in this hour of crisis, Mollah’s comments on Nirupam Sen belied that claim.

Asked whether he was pointing fingers at Sen for forcible land acquisition, Mollah burst out: “Arre, oi to nater guru… Ota harbe ta bishwer ardhek lok janto (He is the villain of the piece Half of the people in the world knew that he would lose).”

Bose told the media that he would inquire about what exactly Mollah had said. But unlike in the past, Bose did not send out any warning signals to Mollah, who some believe is in the contention for the post of the leader of the Opposition.

Mollah, however, was non-committal. “What can I do with this leader of the Opposition’s post? In fact, in my party I am in the Opposition,” he said.

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