The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Party sings Buddha tune

Calcutta, May 20: Taking forward chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s call for cleansing the party, the CPM leadership today said it would move against activists guilty of violence in the panchayat poll.

The punitive measures will be firmed up at the CPM state committee meeting scheduled for May 30.

State CPM secretary Anil Biswas said the coming measures would be an extension of a rectification programme under way for the past several years.

“It is not known to many that our drive actually began after the party’s Salkia (in Howrah) plenum in 1978. Ever since, every three years, we have been adopting resolutions putting in campaigns against elements engaged in anti-party activities,” Biswas told a news conference.

He termed Bhattacharjee’s observation that the CPM has unwanted elements as an amplification of the party’s concern.

“The chief minister’s observation is truly in keeping with the party line. We have no hesitation to admit that such types have indeed managed to penetrate the organisation despite the entry barrier and monitoring which no other party in India can boast.”

Unlike in China, where a party-backed rectification programme was faster and more effective because of the socio-legal environment, the CPM in Bengal found it difficult to pursue an aggressive programme because of legal implications, Biswas said.

The two-day state committee meeting will discuss measures against those involved in “anti-party activities” during the panchayat election.

Echoing Bhattacharjee, the CPM state chief attributed the infiltration of “corrupt elements” to the party’s growth in 26 years. “In the current year, we have 35 lakh party members against 38,000 in 1978. It is physically impossible to monitor such a sprawling institution. So, lapses are bound to occur despite our serious efforts.”

He said over 900 persons were expelled for anti-party activities in 2001-02. The drive was intensified after the party realised that many new comrades were more interested in self-aggrandisement than in ideology, he added.

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