The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Basu sermon to bickering allies

Calcutta, July 2: Concerned over the bickering among Left Front partners in the run up to the recent panchayat elections, former chief minister Jyoti Basu today said unity in the Front had to be protected at any cost.

“We, the nine Left parties, have set an example before the world by staying in power under the banner of the Left Front for nearly 26 years and we have to keep it intact despite all odds,” he said.

Basu was speaking at a function organised by the Forward Bloc to mark the 80th birthday of the party’s general secretary Ashok Ghosh.

Days before the panchayat elections, Basu had to step in to broker peace with the RSP, one of the Front constituents, which threatened to quit the Front in protest against the CPM’s refusal to part with enough seats in some districts of north Bengal. In a marathon meeting at the CPM headquarters, he convinced party mandarins that efforts had to be made to iron out differences of opinion with the RSP over distribution of seats “for the sake of unity in the Left Front”.

Moreover, he said, the growing differences of opinion among Front partners in other parts of the country should not have any bearing on the Left Front in the state.

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