Berth to appease Citu

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  • Published 8.12.03

Calcutta, Dec. 8: The CPM leadership in Bengal is planning to give Chittabrata Majumdar an all-India berth, fearing rebellion from trade union hardliners over his removal from the post of Citu general secretary last month.

Majumdar is likely to replace Citu’s all-India general secretary M.K. Pandhe, whose term is nearing its end. He is also likely to get a Rajya Sabha ticket with filmmaker Mrinal Sen’s term in the Upper House coming to an end soon.

Although there was consensus among delegates — at the Citu state conference that concluded on November 23 — that Majumdar be removed from the key post, several Citu hardliners, including Mrinal Das and Dipankar Mukherjee, are unhappy with the decision.

Majumdar was known among the Citu’s rank and file as a militant trade union leader who did not compromise with the interests of the working class.

“Our former (Citu) president, Niren Ghosh, was a similar type of a leader but was cornered in the state Citu probably due to his differences with then chief minister Jyoti Basu,” said a Citu leader who attended the conference.

Citu insiders said Majumdar was also very vocal in favour of militant trade unionism, which his party and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government had disapproved.

Sources in the Citu said Majumdar was removed because of his unwillingness to give up the path of strikes and bandhs in the industrial units of Bengal.

“He (Majumdar) has been made the state Citu vice-president, a post which has hardly any importance,” said another leader.

It was during the tail end of Basu’s regime that Citu was asked not to resort to strikes and bandhs in realising its demands.

Majumdar, it is learnt, had also made it clear to the party leadership that the trade union was bound to suffer a setback if it followed a obey-the-government line. But the party leadership challenged Majumdar’s logic.