CPM axe on 53

Durgapur, Feb. 13: The Burdwan CPM leadership has expelled 53 party members in Durgapur on charges of secretly maintaining contact with Trinamul, being involved in corruption and instigating factionalism, the largest one-time purge in the Bengal unit of the party in recent memory.

A senior CPM leader in Burdwan said the leadership had received several complaints against the 53.

The CPM had started a "rectification drive" after the Assembly polls, weeding out "undesirable" elements who the party thought were responsible in varying degrees for the debacle.

Sources in the Burdwan CPM said the process to expel the 53 members, including DYFI zonal committee president Biswanath Roy Chowdhury, had started in November last year. The decision to axe them was taken in two district committee meetings held in December and January.

A source said the expelled members, most of them contract workers at Durgapur Projects Ltd, formally joined Trinamul and its labour arm INTTUC after their expulsion.

The sources said the expelled party members were "close to" a senior Citu leader who is also a CPM district committee member. The party has initiated a probe against the leader, a resident of Durgapur, for his "non-communist" lifestyle and "hobnobbing" with industrialists to "suppress" the trade union movement.

"We need to bring fresh blood into the party in place of rotten and corrupt leaders. We have to rebuild the party's image," said Amal Haldar, the CPM district secretary.

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