In an unprecedented incident of enforcing discipline, the CPI(M) barred senior party leader and former MP, Anil Basu, on Sunday from attending any election-related event for the ongoing West Bengal assembly elections, as a punishment for unprintable derogatory remarks about Trinamool Congress surpemo Mamata Banerjee on Friday.
At the same time, under pressure from the party leadership, especially chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose, the errant leader was also forced to issue an apology on Sunday afternoon.
Announcing the decision to bar him from attending, or addressing, any public meeting, Bhattacharjee said that, if necessary, stricter disciplinary measures would be taken against him.
“One or two leaders of the party may lose their mind. But we have to take care of that and, if necessary, we may have to adopt the strictest disciplinary measures.”
At the same time, he added that it would be unjust to put all CPI(M) leaders in the same bracket because of a slip by one leader. “Show me just one more party like ours which has so many good men?” he questioned.
When asked about his reactions to the Opposition’s allegations that the chief minister, himself, had set the trend of using abusive language about Opposition leaders, Bhattacharjee said, “I don’t think so. But tell me one thing. Can’t the Opposition be charged with hurling similar abuses at us?”
In his apology issued from the party’s state headquarters at Alimuddin Street here on Sunday, Basu said the careless statement made by him against the opposition leader on Friday was unwarranted.
“Such comments are totally against our party’s policy and culture. I can realise what impact the comments made among public. I seek apology for making such a comment,” Basu said in the statement.
In fact, the process of censoring Basu from the party began right on Saturday. He did not attend a scheduled rally at Serampore on in the night, while other speakers, such as state health minister Suryakanta Mishra and Srikumar Mukherjee did.