The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Biman fires fall-in-line notice at allies

Calcutta, May 6: Like the beleaguered head of a joint family trying to buy peace with assertive members, the CPM today asked its partners in the Left Front to stop sniping at it. A weakened CPM will mean a wobbly front, party leader and chairman of the ruling coalition Biman Bose said today.

Wagging an admonishing finger at the RSP, the Forward Bloc and some of the other combative partners, Bose said the front constituents would find their existence at stake if they were bent on damaging the CPM.

“There is no denying that the CPM is the backbone of the Left Front and let it be known that none of the constituents will gain in organisational and other terms if their current attempts to weaken the CPM do not stop,” Bose said. He was addressing a meet-the-press organised by the Calcutta Press Club.

Bose’s comments are to be read against the backdrop of a string of violent clashes and bloody fights between the CPM and its partners in many seats in the three tiers of the panchayat set-up. Members of the minor front partners are contesting CPM nominees in about 7,000 seats across the state, putting in the backburner the “unity of the front”.

In the past few weeks, the partners have openly criticised the CPM and held it responsible for the fissures in the ruling coalition. According to the front constituents, especially the RSP, in several key districts the CPM has bludgeoned them along with the Opposition parties into submission.

“It (unity) suffered because of their (the CPM’s) indifference to our sensitivities, expectations and also the Big-Brother attitude,” RSP leader Sunil Sengupta had earlier said.

Bose ruled out the possibility of the disunity affecting the panchayat poll results. “No way” will it have an effect, he said. “We Leftists were divided into two competing fronts in the election in 1967 but we had no problem in coming together and forming a government when the situation so warranted.”

The chinks in the front in some districts will disappear after the front wins the election and the partners once again begin to realise the power and responsibilities the panchayat system confers on them, said Bose.

“Unity among the partners has suffered in only a few districts. In others, we have been able to field consensus candidates in more than 70 per cent seats,” he claimed. “All our partners have begun to realise that the coalition’s well-being is linked with the strengths of the CPM. Their leaders acknowledge the fact.”

Bose rubbished the Trinamul Congress allegation that it could not field nominees in 20,000 panchayat seats.

“Candidates in only 6,283 seats out of 58,357 in the three-tier system were declared elected unopposed. Candidates belonging to all political parties, including Trinamul, have been elected unopposed,” the front chief said.

“There are 49,144 gram panchayat seats and 43,765 will be contested. Out of 8,500 panchayat samity seats, there will be contests in 7,628. At the zilla parishad level, elections will be held in 681 seats out of 713. Do these figures and statistics justify Trinamul’s claim that they could not put up candidates in 20,000 seats'”

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