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CPM 'punishes' Bengal CM for speaking up

Agencies
Aug 30, 2008 at 12:10am IST

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has apologised to the CPI-M for speaking against bandhs (shutdowns) and strikes.

"I do not support any bandh but at the same time I am member of a political party. So long I have kept mum but now I will speak out," Bhattacharjee had said at a business conference on Tuesday.

The CPI-M “punished” him for speaking against party policy and now says the matter is closed.

"The politburo publicly censored Bhattacharjee on Thursday for his comments against strikes. As per our party constitution, publicly censoring someone is a punishment and the party has given the punishment to him," said politburo leader Shyamal Chakraborty in Kolkata.

"Bhattacharjee has accepted the punishment," he said.

Chakraborty said strikes were a weapon in the hands of the working class. "Strikes are not a luxury but the last weapon of the working class to protest against injustices meted out to them. We cannot use this weapon off and on. In fact, it’s the state's opposition parties that call strikes every now and then. It's their conspiracy to poison people’s minds about strikes," he said.

The politburo on Thursday issued a statement which said that “in the context of certain remarks made by Comrade Bhattacharjee” the party wishes to “clarify” that it “firmly stands for the right to strike by the working class as a fundamental right.”

The statement said the party supports strikes by trade unions against “the neo-liberal policies of the Central government and other urgent issues of the working class and the toiling people.”

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