The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM slams rebel outburst

Calcutta, Feb. 4: The ruling CPM today hit back at its MP Radhika Ranjan Pramanik for “tarnishing” its image and “strengthening the hands” of its rivals, a day after he charged the party with wrongdoing and losing political focus.

Pramanik, who was sent a showcause notice, received his sharpest criticism from CPM politburo member Biman Bose. He said the rebel MP’s charge that the party leadership had forced him to part with central funds available under the MP’s quota was wrong.

Bose, who is in Burdwan, also alleged that Pramanik was trying to spend money from the MP’s fund on a string of unjustified development schemes.

At the Burdwan district conference of the Students’ Federation of India, the CPM leader said Pramanik’s outburst was unfounded as the party has never taken any funds from him. “There is no justification for his criticism,” he said.

Pramanik left for Delhi this morning without replying to the showcause notice sent from the CPM’s South 24-Parganas unit.

Shantimoy Bhattachariya, secretary of the district unit, said today that Pramanik, an MP from Mathurapur constituency, has accepted the showcause letter and has informed the party that he will be back in Calcutta on February 9 and give his reply.

“We will wait till February 9 to get his reply and initiate the next course of action after that,” Bhattachariya said, when asked why the party was hesitating to take action against the rebel MP.

The showcause contains the following charges:

nTarnishing the CPM’s image and strengthening the hands of its foes by going public with his anti-CPM version

nNot making his individual political position clear to the party leadership and giving the party an opportunity to remove confusion on this count;

nNot spending funds from the MP’s quota according to norms laid down by the party

nShowing an individualistic attitude towards political issues

Bhattachariya said the party leadership will issue a directive to Pramanik — still an MP on the party ticket — on how he should function inside Parliament. “Even though you criticise the party, you have chosen not to resign from the post of MP. It is time you asked your conscience whether it was a morally right decision because you owe the post to hundreds of comrades who sweated to get you elected five times, yet you choose to run them down for reasons best known to you,” he added.

The Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS) — an outfit formed by disgruntled CPM leaders — today hinted that Pramanik might join them once he was expelled.

PDS president Saifuddin Chowdhury said people like Pramanik will not find place in any rightist party and “in my opinion, our party will be the appropriate place for him”. Asked whether he has spoken to Pramanik about this, Chowdhury said: “No. But a communist leader complaining against the ruling communists should come to our party.”

The PDS leader, however, demanded a judicial inquiry into the allegations made by Pramanik regarding misuse of funds from the MP’s quota.

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