The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Plea for birthday mask on Left land cracks

Calcutta, June 20: On the eve of the completion of 30 years of Left Front rule, the CPM leadership today appealed to allies not to “spoil” the occasion by airing their disagreements on industrialisation and land acquisition.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, his predecessor Jyoti Basu and other Left Front leaders will address an anniversary rally at the Netaji Indoor Stadium tomorrow.

A meeting will also be held in Delhi to be attended by leaders of the CPM, CPI, RSP and the Forward Bloc.

“Left Front partners may air their differences on various issues at their party rallies. But we expect them to stick to the consensus on general policies that we have articulated in the poll manifesto when they address the congregation tomorrow,’’ said CPM state secretary Biman Bose.

Bose, who is also the Front chairman, had convened an unscheduled meeting today, apparently to make the appeal to the allies.

Keen on showcasing Left unity, the CPM today did not discuss the government’s latest package for Singur. The allies, despite being unhappy about not being consulted before finalising the package, decided not to rock the boat before tomorrow’s celebrations.

Instead, the meeting endorsed a public relations drive in the state and in other parts of the country to undo the damage that the Nandigram and Singur land wars have done to the government’s image.

“Let us organise similar campaigns in other major cities of the country to highlight the achievements of Bengal Left Front government,” Bose said.

Forward Bloc’s Ashok Ghosh, however, was quick to point out the lack of unity among Left partners in states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand, which came to the fore during the recent Assembly polls.

Bose indicated that the CPM would not take any initiative to revive the state-level all-party peace meet, aimed at arriving at a consensus with Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Nandigram. He stressed that discussions should be held at the local level to ensure the return of the displaced.

CPM insiders attributed the party’s hardened stand — which came through in industry minister Nirupam Sen’s refusal to return the land acquired from “unwilling farmers” in Singur and Jyoti Basu’s veiled threat of police action — mainly to Bhattacharjee and Sen, who had succeeded in rallying the support of the party state secretariat, including that of Basu.

According to them, the CPM patriarch had put the party in a quandary by lending some legitimacy to Mamata’s demand on Singur and clubbing it with the peace initiative in Nandigram.

“But Jyotibabu relented after being convinced by Nirupam that the Tata unit in Singur will be the last industry in Bengal if we succumb to Mamata’s demands,” a senior secretariat member said.

“We will never allow clubbing of Singur and Nandigram. Signs are clear that Nandigram is limping back to normality and people will go back home gradually as the monsoon sets in. In Singur, we will launch a door-to-door campaign to popularise Nirupam’s package,” he added.

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