The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bandh ban blurs great political divide
- Trinamul not untouchable for CPM

Calcutta, Dec. 1: The high court order banning bandhs has brought the ruling CPM and its political adversary Trinamul Congress on the same platform.

The CPM today said that as far as the court order on bandhs is concerned it did not consider the principal opposition, Trinamul, 'untouchable' and would not mind if it holds a similar view.

CPM central committee member and Citu state president Shyamal Chakraborty said his party was helpless if Trinamul shared the same opinion with the communists over the court order.

'After all, they (Trinamul) are not untouchable,' Chakraborty said, asked whether the CPM was ready to share a common platform with Trinamul on the issue.

Yesterday, CPM state secretary Anil Biswas told newspersons that there should be a political debate to find out whether the judiciary was making an attempt to intrude into politics and that it was high time for all political parties to consider the issue seriously.

Biswas had also made it clear that his party would initiate dialogue with the Congress and even Trinamul on the issue.

Chakraborty's statement today indicated that the CPM was ready to address the issue with support from Trinamul.

The state Citu leader also questioned the high court order on the bandh.

'Why is the high court not asking the Centre to reduce the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG' It would have been better if the court considered the issue of price hike, which has affected every citizen of the country,' Chakraborty said.

Though the CPM is ready to hold talks with Trinamul to combat the court order, the party has opposed the 12-hour bandh on Friday.

'We do not organise bandhs throughout the year like Trinamul. They (Trinamul) have no link with the people, and the bandh they have called is aimed at disturbing the Left Front government rather than protesting against the Centre,' Chakraborty said.

He claimed that today's chakka jam was a success. 'About 900 people were arrested across Bengal and the police resorted to lathicharge in at least three places to foil it. Several buses and other vehicles were also seized by the police,' he added.

CPM insiders, however, said that the party was keeping a close watch on the court orders on bandhs and its consequent follow-up action. It is learnt that the CPM leadership will initiate talks with other parties once the court takes follow-up action.

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