A section of the CPI-M in West Bengal is not happy with the central leadership for backing combined Opposition vice-presidential candidate Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who had criticized the role of the party during the height of Singur and Nandigram stir when he was the governor. The decision to support Gandhi’s candidature has not gone down well with a large section of state committee members and grassroot leaders, some of whom have expressed their anger in the party forum and some have taken to the social media to express displeasure. The disgruntled leaders referred to Gandhi’s opposition to ‘forcible’ land acquisition in Singur in Hooghly district for setting up a Tata Motors small car factory and Nandigram anti-land acquisition movement.
They even went to the extent of describing him as “partisan to Trinamool Congress”. “We really have no idea what our party leadership is upto. First, they decided to forge an alliance with the Congress and now they decide to support Gandhi,” a CPI-M state committee leader told PTI on condition of anonymity. “How can the party forget the partisan role played by Gandhi between 2006 and 2009? This is absolute madness in the name of stopping the BJP. The party is digging its own grave,” the leader felt.
Another senior CPI-M state committee leader, who had vehemently opposed the alliance with the Congress in the last Assembly polls, said, “Last year our party leadership told us to forget about the neo-liberal policies and atrocities committed during Emergency by the Congress and instead align with it to stop the TMC and the BJP.” “Now we have decided to forgive Gandhi in order to stop the BJP. Next year the party might even ask us to forgive the TMC and align with it to stop the BJP,” he said with his tongue firmly in cheek.
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Defending the decision of his party’s top brass, CPI(M) politburo member Hannan Mollah told PTI that certain decisions were taken with an “eye on a bigger perspective” irrespective of the anger and heartburn that they might generate. “There might be anger or reservations about the decision. But these are collective decisions taken in our central committee and politburo. At times it is not about forgiving someone, but about taking a decision with an eye on a bigger perspective. Now the biggest enemy of the country is the RSS and the BJP, so in order to stop them we had to support him (Gandhi),” Mollah told PTI.
Similarly, CPI-M state secretariat member Nepaldeb Bhattacharya said, “Those who are criticizing the party’s decision are doing that keeping in mind the Bengal perspective. They may be right from their point of view. But if you think about a pan-India perspective, you will come to see that the party has taken the right decision.” Gopalkrishna Gandhi was the governor of West Bengal from December 2004 to December 2009. The relation between the governor and then CPI-M led Left Front government started deteriorating after Gandhi criticized the state government for ‘forcible’ land acquisition in Singur and police firing in Nandigram that led to the death of 14 persons in 2007.
During Nandigram agitation in November, 2007 when alleged armed CPI-M supporters had violently taken over the area, he had said, “Darkness descended during Deepavali in Nandigram.” The infuriated CPI-M top brass had then questioned his jurisdiction for commenting on Nandigram. Senior CPI-M leaders Biman Bose and Binoy Konar had criticized Gandhi accusing him of being partial towards the Trinamool Congress. “Go and pick up a Trinamool flag but have the decorum to get out of the Raj Bhavan and leave for good,” party leaders had then told a public rally.