March 29: Suspected Trinamul activists set fire to a CPM office in Birbhum’s Labhpur that had been lying unused since the 2011 Assembly polls.
The CPM alleged the attack was an effort to throttle its “turnaround” in an area where it had failed to field a candidate in last year’s panchayat polls.
Although the CPM could not nominate any candidate for Labhpur’s 11 gram panchayat, 32 panchayat samiti and two zilla parishad seats, party supporters have been campaigning in the area for Ramchandra Dom, the Left’s Lok Sabha poll candidate from Bolpur, for the past few days.
“Our renewed political activities may have angered the ruling party. The attack on our office is an attempt to terrorise us,” said Paltu Kora, the CPM zonal committee secretary.
CPM leaders in Birbhum said party cadres had held a few meetings in the past few days at the Bipratikuri local committee office, which was set on fire. Leaders and cadres have also been holding street-corner meetings, drawing graffiti and visiting voters’ homes in Labhpur.
The CPM has lodged a police complaint. “All our party offices in Labpur have become active once again as people have started coming forward to support us. We fear similar attacks,” Kora said.
In its FIR, the CPM has named 11 people, all of whom it says are Trinamul activists.
Labhpur is the fief of Birbhum Trinamul president Anubrata Mondal. The CPM had earlier alleged that Mondal and local MLA Manirul Islam had used strong-arm tactics to ensure the victory of Trinamul candidates from the area in the rural polls.
Islam denied that Trinamul activists had torched the CPM office. “We don’t have any connection with the incident,” he said.
Sitting MP Dom had won the Bolpur seat, under which Labhpur falls, by a margin of over 1.5 lakh votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. If the votes in the seven Assembly seats in the 2011 state polls are tallied, the Left’s lead comes down to 2,000 votes.