The CBI charge-sheet in Netai has dealt a hammer blow to the CPI(M) and the party will refrain from campaigning in Lalgarh. The decision was taken on Wednesday at a meeting headed by Dipak Sarkar, party West Midnapore secretary and state secretariat member.
Since the Left came to power in 1977, this is the first time that the Red flag is missing from Lalgarh during polls. The meeting was called after the CBI filed the Netai charge-sheet on Monday. Among the Marxist leaders who have been mentioned are Binpur zonal committee secretary Anuj Pandey, Lalgarh local committee secretary Joydev Giri, local committee secretary of Dharampur Dalim Pandey, former local committee secretary of Lalgarh Tapan Dey and district committee member Fullora Mondal. Two prominent leaders Belatikri local committee secretary Chandi Karan and zonal committee member from Belatikri, Khaliluddin were also chargesheeted.
The party, realising that there is hardly any local leadership left on the eastern side of the Kangsabati river, has decided to carry out poll activities from Jhargram town—about 25 km from Lalgarh. There are about 1.5 lakh voters in the Jhargram assembly constituency. Polling is scheduled for May 10. According to party sources, Sarkar admitted that the CBI stand has complicated matters for the CPI(M). The circumstances have forced the party to withdraw from campaigning in Lalgarh and surrounding areas, which cover 7-gram panchayats.
At the same time, the leadership has decided that none of the accused leaders will surrender till the elections are over. Any replacement of leaders will hit the morale of the party but Sarkar has hinted that CPI(M) should search for substitutes in the region.
“Our candidate Amar Bose will file his nomination in Jhargram on April 15. We will assess the situation before taking the next step. Till then we will refrain from campaigning in Lalgarh and adjacent areas,” a senior member in CPI(M)’s West Midnapore district secretariat told Hindustan Times.