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Buddha to fight feud

Bhattacharjee

Calcutta, March 26: The CPM is deploying former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to tackle factionalism in the party’s North 24-Parganas unit.

The party has decided to ask Bhattacharjee, who is a politburo member, to address a general body meeting of the district unit and tell the gathering that the need of the hour was to stand united in order to face the ruling party’s onslaught, sources said.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

“Ever since the reconstitution of the North 24-Parganas district committee in January, there have been reports of increased factionalism in the unit. Many of our programmes in the district are not being attended by the warring groups… when one section is participating, the other is not. That has left Alimuddin Street worried,’’ a CPM state secretariat member said.

The CPM leader said Bhattacharjee is expected to stress on the immediate need to stand united. “This is required to counter the repeated onslaught of the Trinamul Congress,” he said. “He will also talk about our party’s ongoing rectification drive.’’

Two factions are at play in North 24-Parganas. One is led by former Dum Dum MP Amitava Nandi and the other by former Barrackpore MP Tarit Topdar.

Bhattacharjee, who had earlier addressed general body meetings of the Calcutta district committee as well as the South 24-Parganas unit before the party state conference and the 2011 Assembly elections, never needed to do so in the case of North 24-Parganas.

This was because the earlier district secretary, Amitava Bose (popularly known as “Barda”), could keep the factions on a tight leash. “He was neutral, so he could manage both the factions,” a party leader said.

But Bose had to be replaced because of age and Gautam Deb, also considered to be neutral, took over. But Deb, party sources said, lacks the organisational clout and popularity of Bose. As a result, factionalism has grown.

According to a section in the CPM, Nandi is upset over his exclusion from the state committee after the former chief minister held firm that the higher forums of the organisation should not have people involved in “groupism and intra-party squabbles’’. “It was a big blow to Nandi… being dropped from the state committee. He is still nursing that grudge,’’ a source said.

Nandi told The Telegraph today: “There will be a closed-door general body meeting on Sunday. We will discuss our organisational activities. Buddha-babu is expected at that meeting.’’