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CM appeals to Left to join Trinamul

Calcutta, July 21: Mamata Banerjee today urged Left members to join Trinamul and not any other party, a day after three Forward Bloc leaders switched over to the BJP along with 1,000 cadres.

Bampanthi der ki obostha hoyechhe. Apnara Trinamul e aashun, jara akhono adarshey biswas koren. Ami bampanthi der samman kori. Samman diye bolchhi, taka ba anya kichhur kachhe nijeder bikiye deben na (Look at the condition of the Left. Please join Trinamul, those who still have faith in ideology. I respect Left members. With due respect, I am urging you not to fall for money or anything else),” Mamata said.

Standing beside was CPM MLA Chhaya Dolui, who joined Trinamul today.

Mamata’s message to the Left today was similar to her advice to the Left delegation that had visited her last month to discuss alleged Trinamul attacks on CPM cadres.

The Left team, headed by Front chairman Biman Bose, was instead advised to “be visible” to arrest the BJP’s rise in Bengal. “Don’t fight me. Fight the BJP,” the chief minister was learnt to have said.

Although the Left has tried to “be visible” — taking out rallies on the streets to protest a number of issues — defections by cadres apparently unhappy with the leadership’s failure to protect its members from alleged Trinamul onslaught have hit the combine hard. Yesterday, a Bloc MLA, two senior leaders who were associated with the Bloc constituent Yuva League and 1,000 cadres joined the BJP, which is trying to establish itself as the principal Opposition in Bengal riding on the steady stream of defections it has seen of late from other parties.

Two well-known Left loyalists who recently switched over to Trinamul — Arindam Sil and Subodh Sarkar — were present on the dais when Mamata made her appeal to the beleaguered combine. Both Sil and Sarkar shared a close rapport with former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

Although Mamata has time and again called upon Left leaders, especially Front partners, to join hands, today was the first time she made an appeal from the stage of a Trinamul programme. Many Left leaders, including former MPs like Abu Ayesh Mandal and Hiten Barman, had joined Trinamul after being denied tickets for the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. They were given plum posts after the party came to power.

Left Front chairman Bose dubbed Mamata’s appeal “ridiculous.” “It’s ridiculous. Why is she appealing to Left members to join Trinamul? This is all public posturing,” Bose told a news conference in Alimuddin Street.