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CPM: Rural polls toughest

Feb. 24: CPM state secretary Biman Bose feels this year’s panchayat polls could be the toughest “political fight” for the party since 1972.

“After 1972, the panchayat polls is going to be our toughest political fight,” he said. “There is a misinformation campaign to mislead farmers against the drive for industrialisation. All of you must gear up to foil the designs and face the challenge,’’ Bose told party supporters at a meeting of the Citu-controlled jute mill workers’ union at Kamarhati, on the northern fringes of the city.

The Forward Bloc, which has decided to go it alone in the May rural polls, today held a meeting with the anti-CPM SUCI, which urged the Left Front partners to protest against the CPM’s capitulation to capitalists and go to the elections together.

The Bloc, though, told the SUCI that it would not leave the ruling front.

Bose today cautioned the CPM’s rank and file against the “conspiracy” hatched by the Opposition as well as “Hindu and Muslim fundamentalists and Maoists” to dethrone the ruling front from panchayats. “If they succeed in rural areas, there will be a cascading effect in adjoining industrial and urban areas. So you must be active in foiling their designs,” he told the jute mill workers, who have traditionally supported the Left.

At the same conference on Friday, the chief minister had said: “The people of the state would not forgive the enemies of industrialisation.”

Bose said “business interests” had a role in the “anti-industrialisation politics in the state” but refused to elaborate on what he meant.

The comments reflected the party’s worries about the panchayat outcome in the wake of the violence in Singur and Nandigram. The concern was part of the party’s internal document on rural and civic bodies discussed in the state conference in January.

With allies like the Bloc insistent on contesting the polls on its own and the RSP demanding a larger share of seats, the CPM leadership is keeping fingers crossed.

Mamata Banerjee today urged Muslims to shun the CPM and vote for the Trinamul Congress in the rural polls. “I have decided to shun the BJP with the hope of winning your votes. You have voted for the CPM so long. Now give us a chance,” she told a public meeting in Burdwan’s Memari.

She expressed hope that supporters of the CPM’s “es-tranged allies” would vote for her party and warned local leaders against striking seat-share deals with the Congress.

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