The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM balm on Salt Lake wound

Calcutta, June 22: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee called an injured Joykrishna Ghosh the day after the police baton-charge in Salt Lake to enquire about his well-being but it is not known if there has been a conversation with Jyoti Basu since the incident.

Basu’s condemnation of the police action, in which Ghosh and Amitava Nandi, an MP, were hurt on civic poll day and his comment that it could not have taken place without Writers’ Buildings’ sanction have created the impression that he is pointing a finger at his successor. Ghosh is Basu’s close aide.

Bhattacharjee has studiously avoided making a public comment. The party leadership has stood behind the administration, arguing that the police had acted to uphold the rule of law. Nandi and Ghosh had tried to enter a polling booth, which is not permitted.

At the same time, it is taking care to respect Basu’s comments, as CPM state secretary Anil Biswas said yesterday. Responding to Basu’s call for a party and administrative probe, he said the CPM has always heeded his advice.

Within the party, however, or even in the North 24-Parganas unit, criticism of Nandi and Subhas Chakraborty, the transport minister who has been the most strident opponent of the administration, is strong.

An influential section of the district unit, to which Chakraborty and Nandi belong, feels they should not have spoken out in public against the police action.

“This indicates a lack of discipline' They are senior leaders and must realise that people are not liking this,” said a senior leader.

District secretary Amitabha Bose, given the charge of preparing a report on the incident, is also swimming with the leadership.

“In his briefing to the state committee, he (Bose) has not mentioned anything about police excesses,” sources said. They added that the party has decided that as Chakraborty and Nandi are put in their places, as Biswas has already done by saying the transport minister’s comments against the administration were not to be taken seriously, it will treat Basu’s observations with respect.

“However, it will continue to explain its stand in the party,” a state leader said.

Ghosh said about his conversation with the chief minister that “Buddha-da was full of concern' he said he would look into the circumstances that led to the incident”.

“I hope you are consulting a doctor about the gash under your eye. You are a diabetic, do not neglect it,” Bhattacharjee told him.

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