The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Front losing support in weekday rally cry

The Left Front is finding itself isolated in its decision to violate Justice Amitava Lala’s no-rally-on-weekdays order. The mainline opposition parties on Monday decried the Front’s decision to organise processions on weekdays, defying a high court order, and dubbed Front chairman Biman Bose’s personal attack on Justice Amitava Lala as the “CPM’s deliberate bid to make the judiciary totally subservient.”

While Trinamul Congress legislator and Assembly leader of the opposition Pankaj Banerjee sees in Bose’s observation “a clear threat to the judiciary,” state BJP president Tathagata Roy described it as “unjustified and despicable.” State Congress leaders, too, condemned the Front’s move, saying this was “totally uncalled for.”

Sensing the mood of the people, there has apparently been a shift in the Trinamul stand, vis-à-vis the high court order restricting rally hours between 8 pm and 8 am on weekdays. The party, which had upheld the people’s “right to organise processions and rallies to ventilate their grievances” after Justice Lala issued the order, said it was not in favour of holding meetings on weekdays.

“We generally prefer to hold our rallies on Sundays and public holidays to spare the people the consequent hardship. However, we make an exception to this rule only on Martyrs’ Day, which we observe on July 21,” Banerjee said. All three opposition parties feel the Front’s decision indicated “a blatant attempt to display muscle power and its lack of faith in democracy.”

Banerjee said his party was not surprised at Bose’s remarks, as the CPM “has been making persistent efforts to dominate politics in Bengal during the past two-and-a-half decades through its reign of terror.” “Now it is the judiciary’s turn to bear the brunt of the CPM’s wrath,” he asserted, urging the chief justice of Calcutta High Court to convene a meeting of the full bench to consider the developments arising out of Justice Lala’s order.

The Trinamul leader charged chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee with resorting to double-standards in dealing with the high court order. “On the one hand, he has declined comment on it, saying the government is yet to get a copy of the order. On the other, his government did not hesitate to move the division bench to get a stay order against Justice Lala’s verdict. How could the government move the division bench if it was not aware of Justice Lala’s order'” he wondered.

The state BJP chief said his party was exploring the possibility of filing a petition against the Left Front chairman for making an “irresponsible statement and undermining respect for the judiciary.” State Congress general secretary Pradyut Guha said: “The ruling party should try to fight a legal battle instead of taking to the streets.”

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