The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CPM seeks common political response

Calcutta, Nov. 30: Breaking its silence on the string of high court orders against bandhs and strikes, the CPM today initiated efforts to galvanise parties and lead them into a resistance mode.

'It's time all political parties start addressing the people's issue to determine whether the judiciary is intervening in their domain,' state party secretary Anil Biswas said.

The CPM, he added, would initiate steps to provide the parties a platform to start a debate on whether the judiciary is trying to shape their politics.

However, Biswas' call for a debate on the judiciary's 'excess' or 'intervention in 'politics' came only after he slammed Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress for lining up the 12-hour bandh on December 3.

The Trinamul bandh was called to protest the recent hike in prices of petroleum products ' the issue central to the Citu-sponsored chakka jam slated for tomorrow.

Biswas avoided a direct answer to why the Citu is bent on carrying out tomorrow's programme. 'The bandh on December 3 has been called by a political party and we will oppose it politically. But the chakka bandh tomorrow is sponsored by a trade union and we will not say anything about it. The trade union will say whatever it has to about the court order,' he said.

Like chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, the CPM's Bengal chief is not known to favour bandh politics, but is apparently pressured to keep 'conservative' elements in the party in check. A vast section of the CPM realises that bandhs are inimical to the state's economy as it may tell on the current flow of capital ' foreign and national.

The government, which has established itself as proactive and industry-friendly, cannot allow its image to be hit by bandhs and strikes. Neither the government nor the moderates are in a position to confront the conservatives in the party and in affiliates like the Citu, lest they rock the overall industrialisation programme.

It is learnt that many in the CPM had opposed the Citu's chakka jam on the grounds that the Centre has already rolled back part of the hike in petrol and cooking gas prices.

But Citu hardliners argued that they would lose their constituency in the transport sector if they did not display 'aggression'.

Asked whether the CPM has already initiated a dialogue with the Congress, its ally at the Centre, Biswas said: 'Why only them, we will start talking with all parties, including Trinamul. They should consider whether the judiciary had the right to interfere in the constitutional rights of common people.'

Congress working president Pradip Bhattacharjee echoed Biswas. 'Each political party has the right to take up peaceful programmes. Neither the court nor the administration has the right to thwart their movements. Who will decide the right of the political parties' Who will chalk out political programmes of our party ' the court or the Congress leadership' he asked.

Trinamul MLA Arunabha Ghosh expressed concern over judicial 'intervention'. He said: 'If courts issue diktats on observing bandhs and strikes, the relevance of political parties will suffer and this will harm the democratic set up.'

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