The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Party spoiler tag on Surjeet

New Delhi, March 11: Three former CPM members, who once held high positions, have labelled general secretary Harkishen Singh Surjeet as “accused number one” for presiding over a team that has long since jettisoned the party’s “basic ideological tenets”.

The expelled members who washed the party’s dirty linen in public today were V.B. Cheriyan, former all-India secretary of Citu from Kerala, Mangatram Pasla, former central committee member of the CPM from Punjab, and Chandrashekhar, former state secretariat member of the Punjab state committee. The trio was expelled from the party nearly two years ago.

“It is not that we were not protesting the CPM’s revisionist policies when we were in the party. But our voices were drowned. Now we are able to come out in public with our opposition,” said Cheriyan at a news conference today.

Surjeet, known for his skills in backroom coalition politics, is the main “culprit” for them. “He has been doing this for a long time. Sometimes he is hobnobbing with the Akalis, sometimes with the Congress. Once for a by-election in Punjab, Surjeet advocated an alliance with the Tohra group,” said Chandrashekhar, who hails from the same state as the CPM general secretary.

Even after being expelled, Chandrashekhar continued to head the Citu’s Punjab committee because the trade union’s rank and file elected him. “The Citu’s national leadership then started putting pressure on the state leadership to drop Chandrashekhar,” Cheriyan said.

“The CPM maintains that its mass organisations have an independent status. But they interfere in the functioning of all mass organisations,” Pasla said.

The trio said the band of dissidents within the CPM is growing by the day. “In Punjab, we have floated the real CPM. We are planning to interact with others both within and outside the CPM in states like Kerala,” Pasla said.

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