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Comrade dares PB members to contest polls

Comrade dares PB members to contest polls

Author: Saugar Sengupta
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 13, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/175668/Comrade-dares-PB-members-to-contest-polls.html

A maverick Marxist's "revisionist assertions" hours before the nation goes to the fifth and final round of election has left a whole lot of comrades swallowing hard and running for cover. Yet the mighty Alimuddin Street - the CPM's Bengal headquarters - is suddenly lacking the cheek to have words with the party oddball and high-profile State Transport Minister Subhas Chakrabarty.

The striking difference between the Bengal line - traditionally championed by Jyoti Basu - and the Kerala line - held and led by Prakash Karat - came to the fore when State secretariat member and North 24 Parganas strongman Chakrabarty advocated the need for party Politburo leaders to fight elections to test their appeal among the masses.

Proffering a feeble clarification for the non-conformist statements made by Chakrabarty in a televised interview, a miserable Marxist leadership only claimed that whatever he had said was his personal view.

Chakrabarty had earlier opposed the Politburo for stopping Jyoti Basu from accepting the Prime Minister's post. He also openly disapproved of Karat's decision to expel Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee.

In a clear reference to the Karat couple, the Bengal Minister told a TV channel, "The topmost leaders of the party must fight elections." He added, "People should get the chance of testing their leaders. If I don't get first-hand experience of what is happening out there and only take decisions based on reports (prepared by party units), how will I know the veracity of those reports?"

A beleaguered CPM is banking heavily on Chakrabarty's organisational capabilities to brave the Mamata Banerjee wave after the Singur-Nandigram episode.

Reacting to Chakrabarty's statement, CITU State president Shyamal Chakrabarty said, "It is his personal opinion and the party has nothing to do with it." Politburo member and party veteran Md Amin felt even Politburo members like Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Manik Sarkar and VS Achyuthandan were elected representatives. What he did not say, however, was traditionally a Chief Minister of a State was an ex-officio member of the PB.

Experts immediately interpreted Chakrabarty's statement as rebellion against Karat's hegemonic style "that is all theory and no practice".

Cocking a snook at his political bosses, the septuagenarian leader (who was one of the "Pandavas" - the others being Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, Biman Bose, Anil Biswas and Shyamal Chakrabarty - of party ideologue Pramode Dasgupta) disapproved of the decision to withdraw support from the UPA Government that not only gravitated Mamata Banerjee close to 10 Janpath but also put the Bengal party in one of its biggest political crisis.

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