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Congress, CPI (M) hit out at Trinamool for non-cooperation

Marcus Dam

KOLKATA: Two top-rung leaders from opposite ends of the political spectrum in West Bengal shot barbs on Monday at the Trinamool Congress leadership for its stand of non-cooperation with the Left Front government – one that has gone to the lengths of a diktat having been issued against sharing the dais with any minister belonging to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) at a public event.

Manas Bhunia, president of the West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee, and Gautam Deb, senior CPI (M) leader and State Minister for Public Health Engineering, concurred on the need for the Opposition to get together with the Government on matters of development.

They were together on stage at the inauguration of an arsenic-free drinking water supply project in the Sabong area of Paschim Medinipur district.

Without uttering the name of Congress' bigger electoral partner in the State, and only a day after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee at a party rally here welcomed the party in an alliance with it for the forthcoming Assembly polls, Dr. Bhunia said that it is best for parties to keep politics confined to the political arena.

“In a Parliamentary democracy there are many political parties. They (party nominees) contest elections on their respective party symbols. But once elected, one becomes a peoples' representative. Many forget this is so,” he regretted even as he underlined the need to work together for the people and for development.

Mr. Deb, who is also a member of the CPI (M) Central Committee and has been more forthcoming in his criticism of the Trinamool Congress leadership for its confrontationist stance against any project of the State Government, was in ready agreement.

“Government functioning is there to be criticised but supported as well on matters like development and education”, he said, pointing out that except for the three States where his party is part of the government “we are in the Opposition in the remaining where there are governments also.”

On issues of development in their respective constituencies there was a time when Trinamool Congress MLAs used to connect with him, Mr. Deb recalled. “Now they have been directed not to. So they do not come even though some call me on the telephone only to request me not to let anyone know that they have,” said Mr. Deb who is also the State's Housing Minister.

“There will be differences in politics. Manas Bhunia will try to remove us (from power). We will try to stay on in government… But there are many places where the Government and the Opposition can cooperate with each other. Do we always have to keep fighting?” he asked.

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