Buddhadeb in trouble with party over anti-bandh remark

August 27th, 2008 - 9:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Kolkata, Aug 27 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s widely publicised comments that he was against ‘bandhs’ has not found favour with his party apparatchiks, with the CPI-M likely to seek an explanation from him even as trade union leaders insist that political shutdowns are “fundamental rights” of workers.”It is a personal opinion of the chief minister. It is not our party’s stand,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) West Bengal general secretary Biman Bose told reporters in Kolkata Wednesday.

CPI-M sources in Delhi said the party would ask the chief minister to issue a clarification as his remark to industrialists in Kolkata Tuesday had already invited criticism from his own party colleagues as well as its allies in the Left.

“The chief minister has not said the right thing. He will be asked for a clarification for his public remarks. The matter will also be raised in the politburo meeting,” a politburo member said.

The CPI-M politburo is meeting Sep 6-7, which Bhattacharjee is also expected to attend.

However, officially the CPI-M said it was yet to discuss the issue.

“We have not discussed the issue yet. We have to see what he has said exactly and in what context,” politburo member S. Ramachandra Pillai told IANS.

“Personally, I don’t support strikes. Bandhs (shutdowns) do not help the country,” Bhattacharjee told a business gathering in Kolkata Tuesday, saying he found siege and shutdowns “immoral”.

“Unfortunately, I belong to a political party. They call strikes and I keep mum.”

He also said “our old dogma will not work” and said the party was “reshaping and reformulating” some of its thinking and policies.

His counterpart in Kerala, V.S. Achuthanandan of CPI-M, was one of the first to react.

“Bhattacharjee would not have said so. If he did, he is wrong,” Achuthanandan said in Thiruvananthapuram.

Kerala has witnessed at least 174 strikes and shutdowns since the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) came into power in May 2006.

Bhattacharjee’s remarks also left the leaders of the Centre for Trade Union (CITU), the trade union wing of the CPI-M, fuming. CITU national secretary Tapan Sen said: “Calling for bandh is the very legitimate right of a political party. It is always used sparingly.”

CPI-M politburo member Mohammed Amin said: “It is his personal view he has expressed. A political party and a trade union cannot give up the right of workers to go for strikes. It does help the working class and in many places, strikes have made the management adhere to the demands of workers.”

CITU has only last week called for a nation-wide shutdown, which had crippled life in West Bengal.

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