Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Allies angry but ‘no alternative’ to CPM


Allies angry but ‘no alternative’ to CPM

Calcutta, Nov. 12: The CPM’s recapture of Nandigram at gunpoint may have outraged its allies and exposed cracks in the ruling Left Front as never before, but the RSP, Forward Bloc and the CPI were today divided on leaving the government to protest against the Big Brother’s “autocracy”.

Apparently aware of the allies’ dilemma, front chairman and state CPM secretary Biman Bose was in no hurry to call a meeting to apply the balm. “I’m not considering any emergency front meeting. All the partners are busy with their own conferences,’’ .

PWD minister Kshiti Goswami has threatened to quit the cabinet and stopped going to his office. But he admitted a difference of opinion within his party, the RSP, on a pullout.

Goswami, who had compared Bhattacharjee’s role in Nandigram to that of Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots, said: “It’s time to stand courageously against the CPM’s Stalinist juggernaut. But I will resign if my party supports me.”

According to him, if the RSP state secretariat endorses his position at its meeting tomorrow, the party might pull out not only from the government but also from the Assembly.

“We have to also decide whether the steps should be taken in sync with the Forward Bloc and the CPI,” he added.

“Our leaders in Kerala and Tripura are also wondering what to do since they are fa-cing questions over Nandigram,” Goswami said.

His party colleagues favoured a more cautious approach. “We are the oldest ally. We severed ties with the CPM briefly in 1971, but renewed it and continued with it for 30 years despite bloody conflicts because there was no alternative,” an RSP central leader said.

CPI and Bloc leaders felt Goswami’s threat was not serious. “It’s a pressure tactic. The front will not split,” said a CPI veteran.

The CPI is considered the “weak link” in the ginger group, also comprising the RSP and the Bloc, since it is close to the CPM at the national level. “We can’t afford to isolate the CPM for our national compulsions,” a CPI leader said.

The CPI’s Nandagopal Bhattacharya had initially objected to the resolution that held the CPM “entirely responsible” for the Nandigram violence. The party daily, Kalantar, didn’t mention that part of the resolution today.

Bloc leaders said they had joined the RSP in putting pressure on the CPM, but most of its ministers did not want to follow in Goswami’s footsteps.

“We would rather be interested in making our leader, Ashok Ghosh, the front chairman,” a Bloc leader said.