CPI-M office reopens in Nandigram after 12 years

Kolkata: Close to 12 years after it was vandalised and set ablaze during the 2007 Nandigram violence in West Bengal, a CPI-M party office in the region was on Sunday reopened by the party leaders ahead of the coming Lok Sabha polls.

Sukumar Sen Gupta Bhawan, the main party office of the Left Front major CPI-M in East Midnapore district’s Nandigram, remained deserted and locked for over a decade since the land agitation and insurgency in the aftermath of a failed project by the state government under the erstwhile Communist rule to acquire land for a SEZ.

After opening the party office, the CPI-M workers also held a rally in the area in support of their Tamluk Lok Sabha candidate Ibrahim Ali.

“This was our biggest party office in Nandigram. It remained closed since the agitators and Trinamool Congress goons attacked the building and set it on fire during the agitation in 2007. Some of our comrades were inside the building then. They jumped out of the window to save their lives,” CPI-M leader Rabin Deb, who was present at Sunday’s rally, told IANS.

Deb said re-opening of their main office in a region that had once turned into the epicentre of anti-Left movement in the state is significant as it showed that people were coming back to them after witnessing the “misrule and divisive politics” of the ruling Trinamool.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, alleged that a nexus between CPI-M and the Trinamool has made it possible for the Left to reopen the office.

“The opposition support in Tamluk has significantly come towards BJP. So Trinamool is now forming a nexus with the CPI-M so that the opposition votes get divided in the coming polls. They are supplying oxygen to the Left,” BJP district President Pradeep Das said.

Trinamool Lok Sabha candidate and state minister Subhendu Adhikari’s brother Dibyendu Adhikari, however, refuted the allegations an “understanding” with the Left and accused the BJP of taking scores of Left activists in their party in recent years.

“Does the political party (BJP) have any future? Will it be there after the 2019 elections? No, it will be finished. They are day-dreaming and talking rubbish. There is no questioning of having an understanding with CPI-M. We do not need it. Many CPI-M activists have rather joined BJP in recent years,” he claimed.

Violence erupted in Nandigram in 2007 after the villagers started protesting against the then Left Front government’s bid to acquire 10,000 acres of land for a chemical hub and a special economic zone to be developed by the Indonesia-based Salim group.

After the government notified the land acquisition, the farmers, backed by the Trinamool, Maoists, and the Congress, dug up all the approach roads and virtually created a free zone.

As the administration tried to regain control of the area, 14 farmers died in police firing on March 14, 2007, and over 100 were declared “missing”. The government withdrew the land acquisition notification, but violence continued for over a year.