The Telegraph
Tuesday , July 1 , 2014
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Seth loyalists hint at BJP switch

Lakshman Seth

Tamluk, June 30: A group of Lakshman Seth loyalists in East Midnapore have been hobnobbing with the BJP with an aim to switch over to the party, saying the move could save them from alleged Trinamul atrocities.

Expelled CPM leader Seth was said to be backing the decision, now that the BJP has made inroads into the district and has eaten into the Left vote bank in the Lok Sabha polls.

A Seth loyalist, asked if a section of CPM leaders and cadres was planning a switchover, said: “Lakshmanda was expelled after having done so much for the CPM and after turning Haldia into an industrial township. The party had no qualms about throwing him out. Given his stature, we are small fry. Any day, the party can throw us out too.’’

He added: “It’s better to cross the bridge now, before it’s too late. We have been talking to the BJP. They also want us to join. Many of our district CPM leaders have made up their minds. At least that may save us from the wrath of the Trinamul Congress.’’

According to sources, the recent suspension of four CPM leaders — Amiya Sahoo, Prasanta Patra, Pranab Das (party district secretariat members) and Bijon Roy (party district committee member) —was the immediate trigger behind the disgruntled Seth loyalists’ move.

The four leaders were said to be involved in the heckling of CPM state secretariat members Rabin Deb and Nripen Chowdhury when they had gone to Tamluk in February to conduct a probe into an NGO allegedly run by Seth.

Sources in the district CPM said hundreds of party supporters and cadres had switched over to the BJP over the past few months, finding that their party was doing little to protect them from alleged Trinamul onslaught.

Although the BJP got 10 per cent of the votes in the Lok Sabha polls in East Midnapore, the party took a chunk of the Left vote bank, sources said. The Left finished second with 35 per cent votes.

The BJP’s East Midnapore president, Sukumar Das, said any switch from the CPM was welcome.

“We have no problems inducting CPM leaders into the BJP. However, we expect them to follow our organisational principles and requirements,’’ Das said.

Asked about the decision to switch loyalties, Seth, who was expelled from the CPM in March for anti-party activities, said: “If people disgusted with the CPM leadership think of joining the BJP, what’s wrong with that? Look at the CPM’s condition now. Leaders are holding demonstrations in Calcutta while cadres are getting beaten up in the districts.’’

The former Tamluk MP said the BJP had approached him too with an offer to join the party. “I haven’t said no to anybody. But I plan to join a party that can lead the country in the right direction.’’

Sources close to Seth said he had initially thought of joining Trinamul but stepped back realising that the ruling party might not admit him because of his alleged involvement in the Nandigram episode.

Seth is an accused in the 2007 Nandigram firing case and is out on bail.

On his plans to join Trinamul, Seth said: “Do you think Trinamul will take me into their party? I don’t.”

Seven join BJP

Six rebel Trinamul members of Birbhum’s Kasba panchayat on Monday joined the BJP along with Hriday Ghosh in the presence of BJP district chief Dudh Kumar Mondal.

“Today, we inducted the six panchayat members as well as Hriday Ghosh into our party fold. We welcome them. We did not hand over the party flags to them because today the platform was to celebrate Hul Utsav and it has nothing to do with politics. Another programme will be held in July where our state leaders would hand over party flags to the seven,” said Mondal