Basu unity fear echoes in blast

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Calcutta
  • Published 15.05.08
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Subhas Naskar

Calcutta, May 15: Jyoti Basu today virtually conceded that the Left Front’s unity was in tatters and asked all to “learn a lesson” but the subsequent violence at Basanti reopened the still weeping wounds.

The RSP, whose leader and irrigation minister Subhas Naskar’s house was attacked in Basanti, drew a parallel between this government and the Siddhartha Shankar Ray regime and threatened to pull out, but admitted this would be a difficult decision.

PWD minister and RSP leader Kshiti Goswami today said he wanted to discuss the possibility of a pullout within the party. “In view of the Basanti incidents, I can spell out my personal opinion about stepping down from the ministry. But I want my party to discuss it first,” he said in Malda.

After four deaths in Basanti yesterday, Basu said: “Our party as well as others have to learn a lesson and avoid the rerun of violence in the third phase of polls.”

He said “elections need to be peaceful, otherwise there is no meaning in holding them. I was relieved after the first phase went off peacefully. But the situation turned out to be different in the second phase”.

“In the wake of criticism of our policies, we realised that the disunity over seat-sharing would be worse this time. Talks (on seat-sharing) failed with the RSP and Bloc in many places. Biman (Bose) tried his best. But it could not be achieved,” Basu said.

Hours after Basu’s sounded caution, CPM supporters allegedly threw a bomb at Naskar’s ancestral house in Basanti, critically injuring his nephew’s wife, Gouri Naskar.

The RSP took out a rally in Calcutta to protest the “terror campaign” of the CPM. Party leaders called the incident “a shame for Left politics” and threatened to “seriously” consider the option of pulling out at the party’s state secretariat meeting on Monday.

“Many in our rank and file want to pull out. We have to rethink our position as it becomes meaningless to be in the government and the front when the original purpose of the front has ceased to hold any meaning. So, we are keeping all options open,” said RSP veteran Manoj Bhattacharjee.

“We are witnessing a rerun of the terror campaign of the Congress regime of Siddhartha Shankar Ray in the early seventies,’’ he said. “But it will be a difficult decision.’’

Fifteen booths in Basanti will see repolling on May 19. They are among the over 60 booths that the state election commission has marked out so far. “The exact number of booths will be known by tomorrow,” said election commissioner Asok Gupta.

CPM attack

Alleged CPM supporters ransacked the home of a former party member who is now with the Forward Bloc, sparking tension in Dinhata, Cooch Behar.

Subir Adhikary, whose house was attacked, lodged an FIR naming CPM supporters who are residents of the area.