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CPM jostle for district post
- Top 2 spar over assault report

Feb. 20: For the CPM in East Midnapore, two’s not company, but a crowd.

Two heavyweights of the Left party in the district are jostling to steer the organisation. CPM district secretary Kanu Sahu today crossed swords with party colleague Prasanta Pradhan — who was made the acting district secretary when Sahu took ill — over Tuesday’s attack on senior CPM leaders in Tamluk by suspected loyalists of former MP Lakshman Seth.

Saying he was now “physically fit” to run the organisation, Sahu today wrote to Alimuddin Street that he be allowed to resume the district secretary’s post. The senior CPM leader had on February 8 requested the leadership to temporarily relieve him of organisational responsibilities because of illness.

“As I am now physically fit, there is no need for an acting secretary,” Sahu said.

Pradhan, 73, said he had no knowledge about Sahu’s letter asking him to be removed from the post of the acting secretary. “I have not heard anything from the state leadership about my removal. So I should carry on,” Pradhan said.

Pradhan had in a report submitted to CPM state secretary Biman Bose yesterday demanded “stern disciplinary action against party activists involved in Tuesday’s attack”.

Sahu today termed Pradhan’s report “purely personal”. “He did not consult other district secretariat members before submitting the report. It is purely personal,” Sahu said, adding that Pradhan should be charged with anti-party activities.

Asked about the allegation, Pradhan said he had mentioned “nothing wrong”.

Sources said the East Midnapore CPM was divided over allegations of irregularities against Seth’s NGO. Seth, an accused in the 2007 Nandigram armed recapture case, has written to Bose apparently saying he does not want to renew his party membership.

While Sahu termed Seth an “asset” to the party, Pradhan said: “I don’t believe in what is being said about him.”

Asked about the clamour for the party’s top post in the district, CPM state secretariat member Rabin Deb said: “It is up to the leadership to act.”