Calcutta, Dec 9: Agriculture minister and veteran Forward Bloc leader Kamal Guha was today censured for his remarks about Left Front chairman and CPM politburo member Biman Bose following talks between the two front partners.
Guha had strained the relations between the two parties last week by criticising the government for its “poor performance” and describing Bose as “a fake Vidyasagar” at a rally.
Bose has been organising the annual “Vidyasagar Mela” for several years now. The agriculture minister questioned the front chairman’s competence in organising the mela and participating in literacy drives.
Today’s talks were held at the state CPM headquarters ahead of tomorrow’s meeting of the front committee, where the issue was expected to come up. The Bloc leadership wanted to pre-empt a discussion on Guha’s remarks at the meeting and sought bilateral talks with the CPM to “clear the misunderstanding”.
In a statement issued after the meeting, CPM state secretary Anil Biswas and his Bloc counterpart Ashok Ghosh said Guha’s remarks had created an “unpleasant situation”. “Left Front leaders should not make any comment that may hurt the sentiment of any of our leaders and go against the unity of the ruling coalition,” the statement said.
The minister was unfazed. “I would not hesitate to speak the truth,” he said. “I want to maintain front unity as well. But unity does not necessarily mean restriction on the freedom of expression of smaller partners.”
He had earlier criticised the government “for serving the landlord class and industrialists instead of looking after the interests of the working class” and threatened to lead the workers of closed tea gardens against the owners. The minister had served an ultimatum to the government to solve the crises in the gardens.
The CPM had warned the Bloc of a showdown at a front meeting. Sources said other Bloc leaders, too, had asked Guha to refrain from making adverse comments on senior CPM leaders. “You are holding an important portfolio and are the chairman of our party. You should be very careful while making comments,” they told him.
Wall kills child
A child was killed as the wall of a tannery at Tangra collapsed today. Police said Samir Kasari, 6, was walking with his mother when a portion of the wall came down. Samir died at NRS Hospital late in the evening.