The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Landlords on CPM rolls
- Document testifies to presence of bourgeoisie in party

Calcutta, Dec. 30: When Forward Bloc leader Kamal Guha labelled the CPM as pro-landlord (jotedar), he made a pointed reference to the composition of the party members. Something that is not a secret but still kept out of public glare.

In the CPM’s own admission, there are several members who hailed from the “landlord class”. According to a party document, 26 delegates who belonged to the creamy layer attended the 17th CPM congress in Hyderabad in March.

The document — a report of the credentials committee released after the meet — says there were two observers from the “class” at the congress. “Two delegates from the bourgeois class and 11 petit bourgeois delegates had also attended the congress,” the report adds.

However, the state party leadership is not too worried about the Bloc’s charge.

Politburo member and Left Front chairman Biman Bose today said several important leaders in the CPM organisation were from the landlord class and “that is nothing unnatural.”

“Think about Basavpunniah. Who was he' He belonged to the landlord class, but used to live in our commune after joining the communist party. He had donated Rs 5 lakh to the party. Same was the case with P. Sundariyah, who also belonged to the landlord class,” Bose said at the party headquarters on Alimuddin Street.

“They had made a lot of sacrifices for the party. After joining the communist movement, they snapped ties with their families of landlords,” he added.

State CPM secretary Anil Biswas had rubbished the Bloc’s allegation yesterday. Today, Bose reacted. “We think such statements regarding our party should not be made by any of the front partners,” he said.

Asked whether the issue was discussed at the front meeting today, Bose said: “Relations among the Front partners are not so strained that we have to talk about it at the front’s meeting.”

He, however, added that the Bloc could have taken up the issue at a meeting with the CPM before making accusations in public. Bose admitted that meetings of the front partners should be convened more frequently to enable its constituents to express their views on contentious issues.

“We did not discuss the (jotedar) issue today,” Bloc state secretary Ashok Ghosh said.

Apparently, Biswas’ assault on the Bloc against its pro-landlord slur on the CPM came after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee made known his displeasure about the growing attacks of the Front allies on the CPM.

Ghosh today said the Bloc was ready to explain at a bilateral meeting the situation that compelled its leadership to make such remarks about the CPM .

According to observers, the Bloc tirade was aimed at pressuring the CPM into getting out of its bastions in the run-up to the panchayat polls.

Ghosh alleged that the CPM, too, had criticised its ministers in public a couple of days ago.

“Two CPM ministers, Asok Bhattacharya and Jogesh Barman, had criticised Chhaya Ghosh, our minister, at a meeting of the CPM-controlled Regulated Market Employees’ Association in Siliguri. The CPM ministers had also spoken untruths about our minister during the rally. Will the CPM leadership initiate measures against them'” Ghosh asked.

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