The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nanda quit threat to Front of Big Brothers

Burdwan, Sept. 1: Fisheries minister and West Bengal Socialist Party leader Kiranmoy Nanda today threatened to quit the Left Front complaining of unequal treatment of partners in the ruling coalition.

Nanda demanded “the same treatment” as received by major Front partners like the Forward Bloc and the CPI while firing the quit salvo in the presence of CPM central committee member and industry minister Nirupam Sen.

The Burdwan unit of the Socialist Party had invited Sen to inaugurate its district conference at the Sanskriti Lokamancha here today.

“Like any other Front constituent, we also want unity. But we will not hesitate to quit the Front if we feel humiliated within the ruling coalition. We are only concerned about the dignity of our party and running the ministry in the government does not affect us seriously. It will take hardly a minute to decide about quitting the Front once we feel ignored within the coalition,” Nanda said.

The industry minister, however, refused to react to the resignation threat.

“I am a member of the CPM…Still, I have accepted the invitation of the Socialist Party to inaugurate the conference to convey a message of greater unity among the Front partners. My only objective in addressing you is to let you feel that this is high time for all the Left forces to unite and fight the coalition government in Delhi,” Sen said in his inaugural speech.

This is the first time that a CPM central committee leader was asked to inaugurate the district conference of a smaller Front partner. In the past, CPM leaders were invited to speak in state conferences of larger Front constituents like the CPI, the Forward Bloc and the RSP.

The CPM, too, invited leaders of other Front parties in its conferences.

In his address at the party meet, Nanda said it is impossible for any of the Front partners to strengthen its unity without direct co-operation from the CPM — the largest constituent and “the most organised and disciplined force”.

“It is a matter of great regret that some of our partners often claim to be bigger than the rest. But there should not be any such feeling among us. Sometimes, a hot debate rages within the Front about which party is bigger and which smaller. We should not judge the strength of any of our constituents by counting the number of MPs and MLAs of a particular Front constituent. We have only four MLAs…Still, we are a partner of the ruling coalition.

“The Forward Bloc, the CPI and the RSP have their mass bases in certain pockets in the state. But after the CPM, we are the largest party within the Front as we have our units in eleven districts,” Nanda said amid cheers from slogan shouting partymen who had packed the auditorium.

“Though we have only four MLAs, we want equal status like any other Front constituent because the Left Front was formed on the basis of a common political ideology and programme among all the partners.

“We feel, no one among us should claim to be bigger on the basis of the number of MPs and MLAs. We should work together to strengthen ourselves as the Front and not an individual party,” Nanda added.

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