Thursday, November 8, 2007

CPM in fix over mismatch of words and actions

8 Nov 2007, 0100 hrs IST,Saugata Roy,TNN

KOLKATA: With strikes from CPM stronghold Khejuri showing no signs of a let up, the party made an effort in the Left Front meeting on Wednesday to portray the manoeuvres as a "defensive move" to ward off the "Trinamul-Maoist onslaught". However, there were hardly any takers for this argument after state home secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said the first shots were fired from the Khejuri side.

Caught on the wrong foot, Front chairman Biman Bose on Wednesday went public against Ray, saying what he had said the other day was wrong. But Ray stuck to what he said. "I can't be untruthful. My information is based on the reports of police and district administration. What other source of information do I have?" he said after meeting chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

While CPM leaders in Kolkata sent an olive branch to the Opposition in the form of a peace appeal to the public, on the ground level the red brigade stormed into Nandigram early in the morning.

The mismatch between words and actions has put the government in a spot. The CM conceded in the Front meeting that cops weren't equipped to combat the heavily-armed rivals. At the same time, he buried plans to call in paramilitary forces in Nandigram, for the time being, following the public outcry against his seeking a military solution to a political problem. But there was no reason why the police outpost on Tekhali Bridge was removed on Wednesday.

Forward Bloc leader Asok Ghosh refused to endorse the CM's plans to call in CRPF on grounds that the political initiative on the part of the administration didn't succeed due to the stubborn stand of the Opposition. Instead Ghosh wanted Bose to apprise the members about the "socio-political initiative" was taken on his behalf or CPM to bring back peace in the area. Ghosh wouldn't put the blame entirely on Trinamul-led BUPC. "The state home secretary has said that people from the Khejuri were the first to open fire," Ghosh said. The leaders took exception to the CM's deciding to call in CRPF without a discussion in the LF meet.

The CM informed the partners that the government was putting the plan on hold because there were difficulties in redeploying CRPF. But the CM didn't expect RSP leader and minister Kshiti Goswami to go public against his plans, the way Goswami did. Goswami, however, stuck to his view and said sending in paramilitary forces would send wrong signals.

CPM patriarch Jyoti Basu urged all to make a mass appeal for restoring peace in the area. "Who has delegated CPM to bring peace in Nandigram? Let all the Left Front partners make an appeal to initiate a political dialogue."

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