The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Basu leads peace mission

Calcutta, May 15: Led by Jyoti Basu, the CPM today went into a charm-offensive to balm an ally with which the party had a spat over seat adjustments and several other issues during the panchayat poll.

To placate the RSP, which had accused the CPM of “terrorising its supporters” in South 24-Parganas, the CPM cut short a Left Front meeting this morning and went into bilateral talks with the party’s leadership.

Basu, the patriarch, attended the closed-door meeting with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, front chairman Biman Bose, CPM state secretary Anil Biswas and RSP leaders to iron out differences between the parties in South 24-Parganas.

The CPM’s South 24-Parganas secretary, Shantimoy Bhattacharjee, was also summoned to explain the situation there.

At the chief minister’s initiative, it was decided that the South 24-Parganas secretaries of the two parties — Bhattacharjee and Subhas Naskar — will meet district superintendent of police Debkumar Ganguly tomorrow. Their agenda would be to help bring back the RSP supporters who had to desert their villages under CPM threat.

Asked if he will visit the district to pacify warring supporters, Bose said: “It will not be necessary. I think the district leadership of the CPM and the RSP are competent enough.”

RSP state secretary Debabrata Bandopadhyay told the chief minister during the meeting that about 1,000 RSP activists in Canning and Basanti blocks had to abandon their homes because of the terror “unleashed by the CPM cadre” in the post-panchayat election period.

“I wanted to know from the chief minister what he was doing in this regard. I also urged Anil Biswas and Biman Bose to arrange bilateral talks at the district level to help our supporters return home safely. I have also given a detailed report to the chief minister on the number of our party activists staying outside their villages due to the terror,” said Bandopadhyay.

It is learnt that Basu asked the chief minister to initiate immediate measures to help the RSP supporters return home.

Front whip

The front today asked its constituents not to form boards at any level of the three-tier panchayat with support from Opposition parties — the Trinamul Congress, the Congress or the BJP.

The CPM had yesterday decided not to form boards at any level in the panchayat with help from the Opposition parties. Today, the party managed to convince its partners that they should follow the same principle.

The decision came at the end of the front meeting at the CPM headquarters on Alimuddin Street and in the presence of Basu.

Asked whether the CPM was apprehensive that some of its partners might go for alliances with the Opposition parties to form boards at any tier of the panchayat, front chairman Biman Bose said: “Yes. But there are other considerations, too.”

However, the CPM itself had formed a board in Malda in 1998 with support from the BJP.

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