The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dissidents sink CPM at river resort

Calcutta, June 25: It was CPM versus CPM. A grand alliance or mahajot of Opposition parties, which didn’t materialise during the last Assembly election, succeeded in wresting the Diamond Harbour municipality — a Left bailiwick for over 10 years — from the CPM, thanks to dissidents.

Realisation has dawned on the CPM leadership that effective undercutting by a combination of party dissidents and expelled leader Saifuddin Chowdhury’s Party for Democratic Socialism (PDS) caused the sensational upset in the municipal elections.

In the 16-member board at the resort town, the CPM won only seven seats, while the combined Opposition bagged 9. The Trinamul Congress obtained six seats and the Congress, BJP and the PDS one seat each.

Outgoing municipality chairman Asit Bose admitted that the rout was being attributed to dissidents. “We could have formed the board this time had we not been stabbed in the back by our own people. I have information that in at least four wards, party workers secretly tied up with dissidents to ensure the defeat of official party nominees,” he said.

Echoing Bose, Shantimoy Bhattacharya, CPM secretary of South 24-Parganas, said party nominees had lost by small margins as there was a division of Left votes.

However, Samir Putatunda, the unfazed PDS general secretary and a former key CPM functionary, said the CPM had to pay the price for the “terror it has unleashed on the people” in the municipality. “The CPM is fast becoming isolated from the people due to its anti-people policies and its electoral defeat is just a reflection on that,” he said.

Similarly, in Alipurduar in north Bengal, the CPM lost the board due to growing squabbles within the Left Front. Defying a whip from Alimuddin mandarins, the Front partners, including the CPM, put up dummy candidates against one another, effecting a division in the tradition Left vote bank. In Balurghat, the CPM suffered the worst humiliation when the RSP retained the board by defeating all CPM nominees in straight fights.

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