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Comrade opens faultlines

Is Subhas Chakraborty is opening old red wounds? Looks like the hawks and doves are at each other's throat again over the FIR slapped by EC.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 01:43 IST

Is Subhas Chakraborty is opening old red wounds? Looks like the hawks and doves are at each other's throat again over the FIR slapped by EC on the transport minister for alleged “intimidation”

Newly-appointed state party secretary Biman Bose supported his comrade while chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee held his Cabinet colleague guilty. The chief minister's comment in a television channel on Wednesday that it had been wrong on transport minister's part to have hit out at officials and police involved in election duty has left the CPI-M fuming.

"Subhas Chakraborty made a mistake. Even he feels so. We have written to the Election Commission accepting the mistake," the chief minister reportedly said in a televised interview. Top party sources said on Thursday that the commission's rigid stand, its decision to hold a five-phase poll in the state and particularly the raid on Keshpur zonal committee office late on Tuesday night have forced the party on the attack mode. "The party is behind Chakraborty. He merely expressed the mood of activists," a state secretariat member of the CPI-M said.

But he admitted that the transport minister could have been a wee bit more discreet while criticizing the commission. The senior CPI-M leader said Chakraborty had made the comment against officials involved in poll duty at a meeting early last month. Even former party secretary Anil Biaswas, who attended the meeting, did not fault the minister's statement.

The party high command has also made its stand clear. Alleging that the FIR had been illegal, general secretary Prakash Karat complained to the Election Commission that the minister had not been given time to explain his position.

All the sound and fury have had its impact on the Election Commission as well. It has ordered an inquiry into allegations by CPI(M) about the role of the observer. Deputy Election Commissioners Anand Kumar and R. Balakrishnan have been assigned to probe the Keshpur raids and submit a report. The raids has also shifted the scene of action temporarily from Kolkata.

It is all in Midnapore now. On Thursday morning, the district collectorate and the zilla parishad office in this non-descript town turned into a virtual war zone. And the general was Deputy Chief Election Commissioner R.Balakrishnan, flanked by colleague Deputy Chief Election Commissioner Ananth Kumar. The agenda was the final review of the administrative preparedness in the district, Bankura and Purulia which goes to the hustings on April 17.

The meeting with Balakrishnan was attended by district magistrates of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia and the SPs of three districts.

Simultaneously, in the zilla parishad office, commanders of paramilitary forces confabulated with the bosses in khaki on the frontline set-up. Lest the Maosits -- the area is a militancy hotbed -- attack or the parties battle choose to fight.