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Nandigram and Singur deal heaviest blows

The Nandigram blow resulted in the CPM losing control of the East Midnapore Zilla Parishad, reports Arindam Sarkar.
Hindustan Times | By Arindam Sarkar
UPDATED ON MAY 22, 2008 02:07 AM IST

Tremor after tremor rocked the CPI-M headquarters on Alimuddin Street, as poll results confirmed that both Nandigram and Singur had dealt the Marxists a blow in the 2008 panchayat elections.

It was the people’s referendum on Wednesday against the CPM and Left Front government’s policy to forcibly acquire agricultural land for industries that had led to bloody land battles here and had rocked the nation.

The Nandigram blow resulted in the CPM losing control of the East Midnapore Zilla Parishad. However, the party managed to retain the zilla parishad in Hooghly district, and restrict the Singur damage to the three zilla parishad seats within the Singur Block.

“This is the people’s victory and it marks the beginning of the end for the CPM. Despite terrorising the people in Nandigram, those who voted sealed the fate of the CPM,” said Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee.

Out of the 53 zilla parishad seats, the Trinamool won 36 and the Left Front 17. “This is a fitting reply to the CPM, which used police and cadres to kill us and forcibly acquire lands for the chemical hub,” said Trinamool MLA Suvendu Adhikari.

If the proposal for a chemical hub in Nandigram dug the CPM’s grave in East Midnapore, it was the land acquisition for the Tata Motors small car plant at Singur that cost the party heavily there. In Nandigram and Singur, the CPM also took a heavy beating in the panchayat samity and gram panchayat seats.

“I am very happy with the outcome in Nandigram,” said PCC chief Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi.

In South 24 Parganas, the decision to acquire land for infrastructure and industrial projects for the Salem Group as well as infighting did the CPM in.

Out of the 73 zilla parishad seats here, the Left Front won 33 seats. But Opposition forces such as the Congress, Trinamool and SUCI won two, 31 and five seats respectively.

“People misunderstood us. And perhaps we failed to convince them that we would not acquire land forcibly and without proper compensation. But we had little time to control the damage,” said CPM central committee member Shyamal Chakrabarty. “We knew we had a tough fight on our hands. The media has harmed us.”

With barely eight months to go for the next Lok Sabha polls, Alimuddin Street will likely put a stop to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s move to acquire land for new projects.

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