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Buddha in rally for critic Mollah

Calcutta, Jan. 9: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today hit the streets of Calcutta to protest the alleged Trinamul attack on MLA Abdur Rezzak Mollah, who had been critical of the former chief minister for his industrialisation policy.

Bhattacharjee took part in today’s 5,000-strong Left Front rally, which began at Esplanade and ended at Sealdah, only for a few minutes because of health problems.

The former chief minister stepped out of his car at Esplanade, took a few steps and then stood in front of the Tipu Sultan mosque, watching the procession pass by. After the tail of the procession passed by him, Bhattacharjee got into his car and headed for Alimuddin Street.

Asked whether it was Bhattacharjee’s “magnanimity’’ to take part in a rally to decry an attack on his bitterest critic in the party, a CPM state secretariat member said this evening: “Our party internally analysed the reasons behind the 2011 Assembly election defeat. But Rezzak Mollah went further and publicly commented against Buddhada. That was in bad taste. But Buddhada is not a petty person. He agreed to join today’s rally the moment the programme was decided.”

Shortly after the 2011 Assembly poll results were announced, Mollah had launched a vitriolic attack on Bhattacharjee’s industrialisation drive.

Asked if the results were a reflection of Bhattacharjee’s industrialisation policy vis-a-vis Singur, Mollah had said: “Hele dhorte parena, keute dhorte gechhe (one who cannot catch a harmless snake went to catch a poisonous one).”

Mollah was summoned to Alimuddin Street, censured by CPM state secretary Biman Bose and warned against making such comments in the future. But the former land and land reforms minister did not stop criticising Bhattacharjee. To his close aides, Mollah continued expressing doubts over whether the party could revive itself under the leadership of Bhattacharjee and Bose.

According to an Alimuddin Street source, it was not “magnanimity’’ alone but also “political compulsion” that prompted Bhattacharjee to rally behind Mollah.

“When a senior MLA and former minister is attacked by Trinamul, the CPM needs to stand by him and campaign against such anarchy and lawlessness. After all, we must highlight such attacks on us to tell people what Trinamul is doing before the rural polls,” the source said.

“It’s true that Buddhada has shown magnanimity by participating in today’s procession for a while. But he also had a political compulsion because of the impending panchayat elections,” a CPM state committee member said.

Another CPM leader of whom Mollah had been critical, former industries minister Nirupam Sen, also participated in the procession.

Mollah, who is now in hospital, had dubbed Sen the “nater guru (villain of the piece)” after the Assembly polls. Mollah had termed Sen’s industrialisation drive “hasty”.

A CPM leader said: “Buddhada and Nirupamda are senior CPM politburo members. They will not stoop to such levels. Rather, today is the time for Rezzak Mollah to repent for what he had said.”