Friday, November 16, 2007

Shoot first, think about polls later

The Statesman

Rajib Chatterjee
NANDIGRAM, Nov. 15: The CPI-M might have captured its lost ground at gunpoint in Nandigram, but how will the party regain the peoples’ lost trust? This is the question that haunts members of the CPI-M Midnapore (East) district committee leaders following the Nandigram capture operation.
Though the CPI-M has established control over entire Nandigram-I and Nandigram-II blocks by raining bullets on unarmed villagers, a section of party leaders in Midnapore (East) apprehend a setback in the three-tier panchayat polls scheduled to be held next year. To avoid the set back, the CPI-M has launched a damage-control exercise and decided to organise a series of rallies at villages it recaptured from Bhumi Ucched Protirodh Committee (BUPC) in the past few days. They fear the CPI-M will lose control of power in many panchayats in these two blocks if they fail to earn the trust of the people before the panchayat polls. The CPI-M faced a major erosion in its mass-base in Nandigram owing to terror unleashed by armed party cadres on farmers. Finally it managed to recapture entire violence-hit villages from BUPC.
The CPI-M has also instructed its cadres, who were brought to Nandigram from other districts to execute the recapture plan, to leave Nandigram and Khejuri immediately.
After successfully completing the Nandigram capture operation, the party has decided to launch a drive to earn the faith of the people and to make them believe that Trinamul Congress and Maoists cadres had misled them. As part of its damage-control exercise, the CPI-M’s Midnapore(East) district committee members have told their bosses at Alimuddin street to ask the state government to release emergency funds for development at villages which were under the control of BUPC.
At the same time, the party has instructed members of its various mass organisations to get in touch with the BUPC supporters who have taken refuge at relief camps following Nandigram recapture operation. At least 10,000 people of Nandigram, who were driven out of their homes by CPI-M cadres, have taken refuge at Brajamohan Tewari high school near Nandigram bazaar. The CPI-M has initiated efforts to bring them back to their homes as part of its efforts to regain the faith of the people.
A CPI-M leader said, the party has prepared a list of BUPC leaders who led Nandigram people against the CPI-M from the front. The BUPC leaders will not be allowed to come back to their respective villages.
“We are inviting all BUPC supporters to abandon arms and come back to their homes,” said Mr Ashoke Guria, secretariat member of the CPI-M Midnapore (East) district committee. “First we will start development works at affected villages as soon as possible,” he said.