IT’S A patch barely 250 square kilometres. It’s not big enough to contain a single Lok Sabha seat, it struggles to send six members to the 294-strong West Bengal Assembly. Not worth evoking desperate measures from a party that has been entrenched in power for more than three decades, you would think. Yet, over the last year, Nandigram has been a bloodied and mostly unsung battleground, locked in fullblown warfare launched by governmentbacked CPM apparatchik on the people. They went into it with an elaborate battle-plan, laying siege, scorching earth and taking pocket by pocket. They went into it with the most sophisticated weapons, AK-47s and landmines included. They were unafraid to kill and to destroy and to leave thousands destitute. They were adamant about keeping out the forces of State until the party had finished its work — until the CPM had made sure Nandigram had “fallen” the CRPF and local police remained in barracks.
On the contrary, he and his party swung swiftly backstage to buffer their transgressions in Nandigram politically. A timely softening on the nuclear deal was widely interpreted as a means to neutralise both the Congress’ local belligerence and any intervention that New Delhi might have contemplated. And within the Left Front, dissent was effectively armtwisted. Consider the changed tone of senior RSP leader and state PWD minister Khiti Goswami. Days after he told a crowded press conference that he and two of his colleagues would resign from the Left Front government, Goswami did quite a U-turn; nobody was quitting, nobody was saying anything anymore about Nandigram or the CPM, at least not on the record. It is well-known that all Front partners including the CPI are deeply distressed at the CPM’s handling of Nandigram but they play under the compulsions of being junior, spanked partners. They can’t risk breaking rank.
From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 4, Issue 45, Dated Nov 24, 2007
Monday, June 9, 2008
Posted by Madhura at 12:27 AM