The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brunt of baton rankles ranks

Calcutta, June 20: The secretary of the CPM's fractious North 24-Parganas unit, Amitava Bose, today found himself being pulled in different directions as he began probing the circumstances leading to yesterday's police crackdown in Salt Lake.

Several top district leaders, including MP Amitava Nandi and Jyoti Basu's aide Joykrishna Ghosh, were at the receiving end of the police action, which shook the party.

'Going by available signs, the police showed unprovoked highhandedness in tackling a particular situation in a booth in Salt Lake,' Bose said, adding that 'the entire incident was avoidable. I am going to submit a report to the leadership soon detailing the initial findings.'

By the time Bose shared his 'initial findings' with The Telegraph, the word was out that several influential comrades from the district met him at his Salt Lake home this morning and then stepped up the pressure at the district secretariat meeting at Barasat in the afternoon. He was apparently goaded to take on the state leadership on the issue.

Around 9.30 am, Bose had a taste of the comrades' ire when senior functionaries belonging to the Subhas Chakraborty-Amitava Nandi camp descended on his home. 'Barda (Bose is addressed as 'elder brother' in party circles), it is time we all showed some spunk to them (the state leadership). Please do not succumb to pressure when you prepare the report. And it must reflect the party workers' pain and humiliation at the police assault on our MP and Joykrishna Ghosh (Basu's confidential assistant),' said one of them.

Bose, a seasoned player who enjoys the faith of the leadership, conveyed the 'local party sentiments' to state CPM secretary Anil Biswas, who advised him to 'incorporate all relevant elements' in the report he had been tasked to submit by June 22.

• Inquired into the involvement of party leaders in an extortion racket in the wet land areas
• Probed the arrest of athlete-turned-MP Jyotirmoyee Sikdar’s husband Avtar Singh’s arrest
for running a sleaze racket
from his Salt Lake hotel
• Investigated Subhas Chakraborty’s “shelter” to
criminals in Salt Lake stadium

Other party probes conducted
by Amitava Bose

A chosen investigator in times of crisis, Bose finds the present assignment especially tough as it involves heavyweights like chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Basu, Biswas and many others.

At the district secretariat meeting, senior functionaries criticised the government for the lathicharge and the chief minister for what they described as his 'hard position' on the district unit.

To buttress their observation regarding Bhattacharjee's 'indifference' to the district unit, many of them cited his refusal to campaign in Salt Lake. They also mentioned his rejection of an invitation to a victory rally in south Dum Dum, where the CPM had swept the municipal polls last year.

'We are told that the police resorted to the lathicharge to stop intimidation of voters, booth jamming and false voting. However, neither the administration nor the leadership is making any attempt to explain the action against Nandi or Ghosh'.The same Buddhababu's police force kept silent when Trinamul workers entered booths and intimidated voters,' district leaders told Bose.

The district secretariat heard transport minister Subhas Chakraborty, who had fired the first salvo at the chief minister on the eve of the polls after the police prevented cadre from entering Salt Lake. Nandi, who suffered a bruise ' apart from a blow to his strongman image ' in Sunday's lathicharge, spoke as well.

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