The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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US gum to paste fringe groups to Left Front

Calcutta, March 2: The CPM appears to be using the US build-up against Iraq to unite Left groups outside the Left Front.

Parties such as the SUCI and the Naxalite faction led by Kanu Sanyal, both critics of the front, today attended a meeting convened by the CPM at its headquarters on Alimuddin Street.

An anti-war rally will be organised in Calcutta on March 30 in which SUCI and some Naxalite outfits will take part, front chairman Biman Bose said today. A convention including the SUCI and some Naxalites groups will be held in the city on March 25.

The CPM is working to unite the Left and democratic forces in the state to fight the threat of a war on Iraq by the US and the anti-people policies of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, sources said. Bose contacted SUCI secretary Provas Ghosh on February 26 and sought his opinion on holding a joint rally against the US war threat.

Ghosh reportedly told Bose that his party had no objection to joining hands with the CPM in principle but would not withdraw its agitation against the front on issues such as the hike in power tariffs, hospital and education charges.

“We had joined a rally organised by the CPM and other Left parties to condemn the Gujarat riot. We will not mind joining hands with the CPM and other Left parties to counter the BJP-led coalition in Delhi. But the Left Front government in Bengal is taking some anti-people policies and we are determined to oppose those,” Ghosh said.

A number of Left parties, including the CPI, had joined the front when it came to power in 1977. Even Naxalite groups under the banner of the Communist Organisation of India Marxists-Leninist, led by Asim Chatterjee, had fallen in line and become its part.

Chatterjee had also contested an Assembly election as a front candidate from Rashbehari in the city. But differences with the CPM compelled him to quit the front.

Political observers feel that the CPM is trying to woo the SUCI for specific reasons.

First, the SUCI has been constantly organising protests and other movements against the front for the past few years.

The party even forced the CPM to withdraw its decision to abolish English at the primary school level by mobilising public opinion against the move. The CPM, observers said, is trying hard to take the SUCI within its fold so that the latter no longer opposes the ruling coalition.

Ghosh, however, made it clear that the SUCI would not give up opposing the CPM over its “anti-people” policies.

The Left Front government has been running affairs in the state single-handed in the absence of an effective Opposition.

The Trinamul Congress and the Congress have failed to mobilise public opinion over popular issues and launch agitations against the ruling coalition, said observers. The SUCI, however, has successfully organised bandhs on issues that “affect people”. Once the SUCI joins the front, there will be no effective opposition for the CPM to contend with.

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