The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Partners pile panchayat heat on front Big Brother

Calcutta, Nov. 25: The CPM is increasingly feeling threatened as the CPI and the RSP look set to form an intra-front group that would force the majority party to accept some of their long-pending demands.

CPM officials indicated today that the two constituents appeared to be working on forming a pressure group before the panchayat elections slated for May.

The issue is likely to come up for discussion at the CPM’s state committee meeting scheduled for Friday, when matters related to the panchayat polls are expected to be addressed.

“We will have to take a decision on them before long,” a party official said.

The CPM is willing to take a clear stand on the matter. The Left Front will meet on December 2 and either the RSP or the CPI will raise the issue then, feel CPM insiders.

The party, however, has earned the backing of the second largest front partner, the Forward Bloc, which believes that the CPI and the RSP should not raise issues that might hamper the joint programmes of the ruling coalition.

“We are very much in the front and we think that any dispute within partners should be settled at the front’s meeting. No partner should encourage any initiative that might harm the front’s unity and integrity,” said Bloc state secretary Ashok Ghosh.

The CPI and the RSP are reportedly unhappy with the CPM for trying to keep maximum seats under its control during elections.

The parties believe that the trend will continue in the panchayat polls with the CPM offering only a handful of seats to the partners to keep the Front united.

The RSP had strongly criticised the CPM during its 16th national conference here in February.

The RSP had alleged in its draft political resolution that “the party’s proposals with regard to running the Left Front government…were not given due importance. No initiative was taken to spread the unity of the front at the grassroot-level, the CPM’s arrogant attitude proving to be a major hindrance”.

The party had also criticised the functioning of the panchayats, most of which are controlled by the CPM.

“The Left Front has failed to sustain the success it achieved during the tenure of its first government because it could not continue the land reforms movement,” the RSP resolution said.

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