In an unprecedented incident, a group of nearly 50 people today barged into the headquarters of the CPM in Kolkata to protest the party's decision to allot the Bhatpara seat to RJD for the Assembly polls.
- A group of CPM members protest over Bhatpara going to RJD.
- Left ties up with RJD and JD-U leaving 4 seats for them in Bengal polls.
- Mamata Banerjee downplays the tie-up, says Nitish Kumar remains a friend.
Just then, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee happened to step out. Clearly taken aback at the sight of so many people inside the party office compound, he asked why they were there. Told about the Bhatpara issue, the former chief minister said, "Tell them to go home. This kind of thing doesn't happen in this party."
Before leaving the office, Mr Bhattacharjee asked party workers who were trying to disperse the crowd to get leaders to talk to them. A team of five protesters were escorted inside the office and asked to give their grievance in writing.
Indeed, protests about candidates have taken place in CPM's local offices in the past. But, never at the party headquarters. Just yesterday, Left Front chairman Biman Bose said the RJD and JDU had requested him to announce that they would be contesting four seats in the Bengal polls. The RJD will contest Jorasanko and Bhatpara. The JDU, Howrah Central and Islampur.
The protesters said they wanted a CPM candidate at Bhatpara and were disappointed that the RJD would contest it with Left support. Trinamool's Arjun Singh is MLA there since 2001. In 2011, he defeated CPM's Nepaldeb Bhattacharya by over 40,000 votes.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lightheartedly dismissed JDU and RJD's links with the Left. "I went to Nitish Kumar's swearing in twice. If a political party wants to field candidates, why should I fight with them? He is my friend, will remain so."
In the past, Ms Banerjee has, on more than one occasion, mooted a "federal front" of regional parties and had wooed Mr Kumar to join it.