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Netai remark angers allies

Calcutta, Feb. 5: Leaders of two Left partners today criticised Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s public admission of CPM cadres’ involvement in the 2011 Netai killings, a few days after a section in his party resented the timing of his reference to the massacre.

Former RSP MP Monoj Bhattacharyya was the first to articulate the party’s grievance at a Left Front meeting in Alimuddin Street today, saying the former chief minister’s remarks had made “things difficult for us”.

“What was the need for making such a public admission of guilt three years after the firing in Netai? Yes, it was indeed a mistake on the part of CPM cadres to fire at villagers and kill some of them. But Buddhababu need not have raked up the issue now. It has made things difficult for us before the Lok Sabha elections,” Bhattacharyya was quoted as telling Left Front chairman Biman Bose.

At Alimuddin, Forward Bloc leader Hafiz Alam Sairani echoed Bhattacharyya. “Now that the elections are knocking on the door, it’s time to go full throttle rather than continue admitting mistakes.”

Sources said Bose, also the CPM’s state secretary, told the aggrieved leaders that he didn’t have any explanation on why Bhattacharjee had made the remarks on Netai.

At a public meeting in West Midnapore on February 2, Bhattacharjee had said: “Our boys made a mistake in Netai. It was a grave mistake. This should not have been done. I admit the mistake.”

Nine villagers in Netai were killed in the firing from the house of Rathin Dandapat, a CPM local committee member. The firing, months before the Assembly elections, was seen as the last nail in the Left’s coffin.

Although the issue had been condemned in almost all internal meetings of the Left, most CPM leaders had avoided broaching in public the murders in which 20 party activists are accused.

Eight of the accused, including Dandapat, are absconding.

Last week, a section of CPM leaders had questioned Bhattacharjee’s public admission a few months before the Lok Sabha polls, due in May.