Emotional CPM Drops Plan To Let Out Office


Kolkata: The CPM has dropped the idea of letting out one of its offices at Guskara in the traditional party bastion of East Bardhaman after reports that such a move had made the otherwise stoic comrades emotional.

The East Bardhaman Marxists, raised on a diet of Marxist political economy – an integrative analysis of the economy, society and politics, considered as interdependent structures that evolved historically – have chosen to let emotion overrule economic interests in deciding the fate of Rabin Sen Bhavan.

Insiders said news that the CPM – out of power in Bengal for seven years after a 34-year stint at the helm but still one of the richest parties in the country – was mulling renting out the two-storied Bhavan stirred emotions, prompting the leadership to abandon the idea.

According to its own declaration filed with the Election Commission in October last year, the CPM had assets of Rs 315.25 crore and a registered income of over Rs 100.25 crore in 2015-16.

“We are yet to let out the office. It is true that we were looking for customers to let out the property to generate some resources. But there was an outcry. We have dropped the idea,” said former Burdwan district secretary and state committee member Amal Halder.

The Bhavan in Guskara, 140km from Calcutta, was built with funds mobilised by the local committee and inaugurated on May 1, 1999. It used to house the party’s local committee, till the local and the zonal committees were merged to form an area committee.

The area committee operates out of the erstwhile office of the zonal committee, a shout away from the Bhavan. A branch committee of the party currently occupies the Bhavan.

Accordingly, local leader Narayan Chandra Ghosh begun looking for tenants and, according to the sources, he found one, Swapan Pal, ready to pay Rs 15,000 a month.

“We were looking for better offers but a local channel carried a report saying we were doing so because of a financial crisis. This was picked up by other channels. Soon, it became a major talking point in the region,” said a district leader.

Anything to do with Bardhaman – now split into East and West Bardhaman – remains an emotive issue within the CPM as it used to be the traditional Red Fortress in Bengal. Guskara is part of the Ausgram Assembly constituency, which the CPM won at a stretch for 40 years between 1971 and 2011.

“We got a lot of emotional reactions opposing the move. Besides, it made us look financially unsound, which is embarrassing for the party. So, the plan was abandoned,” the leader added.