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Seth rethink foisted on CPM

- Biman runs into loyalists’ demand to drop probe against ex-MP

March 24: CPM leaders in East Midnapore owing allegiance to Lakshman Seth today demanded at a meeting with Biman Bose that the state leadership withdraw its probe against the former Tamluk MP and take steps to ensure he remains in the party, sources said.

The sources in the district CPM said state party secretary Bose, who had gone to the party’s district headquarters in Tamluk town to discuss preparations for the Lok Sabha polls, was told by Seth’s loyalists during the eight-hour meeting from noon that it was not possible to campaign in East Midnapore without having Seth in the party.

Seventy-one party leaders were present at the meeting.

District CPM secretary Kanu Sahoo said tonight: “It was decided at today’s meeting that our acting party secretary, Prasanta Pradhan, and district secretariat member Prasanta Patra will meet Seth in his Calcutta flat soon and request him to renew his membership in the party. The decision was taken in the presence of Biman Bose.”

CPM sources said Seth had written to the state leadership last month protesting against an inquiry ordered by the party into the activities of an NGO he ran in the district.

Party sources also said Seth had informed the state leadership that he did not want to renew his party membership.

Asked about the probe against Seth, Bose said “no inquiry commission has been set up against Lakshman Seth. So I don’t want to discuss about this.”

Bose added that the last date for renewing membership was March 31.

Party insiders said Seth might have ruffled feathers and breached party discipline but Alimuddin Street still valued him as a comrade whose utility was not yet over.

“The fact that Seth will be given another chance became clear when it was decided in Bose’s presence that a team of district party leaders would visit Seth in Calcutta and request him to renew his membership,” a district party leader said.

The clamour to keep Seth in the party is not unexpected as he still has significant clout in the party’s district unit.

Members of the commission set up by the CPM to probe charges against the NGO run by Seth were heckled last month by alleged supporters of the former MP when they visited the district. Though the incident prompted a section of the CPM to demand stern action, the party has chosen to tread with caution.

Following an outburst by Seth against party leaders at a programme organised by the now-expelled CPM leader Abdur Rezzak Mollah, the party leadership was under pressure to take action against him. Today’s development is an indication that the party is in no mood to dump Seth despite his diatribe against the leadership even as it has acted tough on Mollah.