CPM party offices closed

At Singur, the CPM has a valid reason to be around; the party had initiated a project “for the good of all”. At Nandigram, it has faded from memory, DHNS reports from Nandigram.

The Nandigram issue exploded around the same time as Singur and the Left party is still out of favour. While the local CPM party office is still closed, there are hardly any red flags around, an absence that can be traced back to the police firing of 2007.

On March 14, 2007, the police opened fire on a mob of demonstrators protesting against “forcible land acquisition” for a proposed chemical hub to be set up in the East Midnapore hamlet. Unlike Singur, where agricultural land was primarily acquired, at Nandigram, much of it was homestead land, with people living in the areas set for acquisition. The discomfiture of that police firing, which left 14 dead and many others injured, has kept the CPM away from the area even after 9 years.

Later developments forced the CPM to close down many of its local offices across East Midnapore, which was prompted further by the party’s loss in the 2011 Assembly polls and since then the Nandigram party office has remained closed. The one-storied, tile-roofed house continues to stand but it is covered in Trinamool flags and usually has local Trinamool workers sitting around, ordering cups of tea from the tea stall on the other side of the street.

For a casual observer, the building would seem more like a Trinamool Congress office unless one takes a peek through a slightly ajar window to catch a glimpse of the portraits of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Jyoti Basu, among others.
With less than a week left for polling across East Midnapore on May 5, local CPM leaders are yet to decide on the prudence of unlocking the doors. The party, which dominated the district, went on further back foot after Trinamool swept the 3-tier panchayat in 2013, besides wining the Lok Sabha seats a year later.

Although action by a determined and proactive Election Commission has given CPM the courage to re-open some of its offices in different parts of the district, Nandigram is not among those.

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