Scramble to plug damage

Calcutta, Dec. 28: The CPM is scrambling to control the damage MLA Anisur Rahman's remarks against Mamata Banerjee have caused the party, especially at a time it thinks its graph is "rising'' because of the Trinamul government's policies and actions.

"Such irresponsible and gender-insensitive comments are bound to affect the organisation. We know how much damage these things can cause and we are concerned about that, particularly when we are trying to strengthen the organisation," CPM state secretariat member Mohammad Salim said today.

Salim said Rahman, who made derogatory references to the chief minister while referring to monetary compensation for rape victims, had been warned against a repetition.

The leadership issued a "strict warning" to Rahman following a state secretariat meeting last night.

By cautioning Rahman, the leadership wants to send the message that such acts will not be tolerated.

"The Trinamul government is gradually becoming unpopular because of its activities, its failure to maintain law and order and the chief minister's insensitivity to rape victims. More and more people are coming back to our fold. Our graph is rising. But such remarks will affect our organisation's image. That's what we have tried to convey to the lower levels of the party by censuring Anisur," a CPM central committee member said.

An Alimuddin Street source said CPM state secretary Biman Bose had asked his close aides to call up the district secretaries and tell them that the rank and file must keep in mind during the panchayat poll campaign that the leadership does not approve of what Rahman said.

The state human rights commission today told director-general of police Naparajit Mukherjee to submit within three weeks video footage of Rahman's speech in Itahar.

Minister Firhad Hakim called for a social boycott of Rahman.

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