In Kolkata, the chief minister was hauled up in Assembly, the district police chief was removed for ‘inactivity’, the local officer-in-charge transferred, the party observed a Birbhum bandh and the party state secretary thundered against the Trinamool “crime”.
But in Nanoor, the local CPM leaders say the man at the centre of the controversy — Ananda Das — kept no relation with the party for the last two years and had turned a covert Trinamool supporter.
Das had distanced himself from the party since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. He had been removed from all party posts and since he was not attending any party programme, the proposal to drop his primary membership was also under consideration.
Moreover, he had joined an Trinamool-backed NGO, run by Trinamool Nanoor Block working president Subrata Bhattacharjee. Trinamool’s Bhattacharjee has been accused of the murder by the CPM and was named in the FIR.
Dilip Ganguly, CPM Birbhum district committee secretary confirmed that Das was ‘dropped’ ¿ not only from the district committee but from all posts in Nanoor zonal committee and local committees at the end of 2008.
“He was unable to attend party programmes, I have no idea why,” Ganguly said.
The zonal committee secretary of CPM in Nanoor, Ananda Bhattacharjee, also admitted that Das had become “politically inactive” for the past few years.
Currently in hiding, Trinamool’s Bhattacharjee told The Indian Express that he had a very good relation with Das ever since the CPM denied him a nomination for 2006 Assembly elections.
“I was the president of the NGO, but when Anandada joined us, I relinquished the post for him,” he said. “This is a very strange for me. Why should we target an opponent party leader who had virtually deserted it and became inactive? He no more had any impact on local politics.”
The NGO, Rami Chandidas Janakalyan Samity, had become Das’s regular haunt after he joined it in 2008 along with his followers. It provides health awareness campaign and ambulance facilities for the villagers in adjoining areas.
Ujjal Roy, a close aide of Das, said: “Ananda was frustrated. He was planning to contest the 2011 Assembly elections and a section of CPM local leaders was informed about it.”
Two weeks ago, Das was summoned by the party leaders at the zonal committee office. “He later told me that he was asked to rejoin the party,” Roy said. “He was in a quandary.”
Das had other worries as well.
The CPM Central Committee had issued a diktat that all NGOs were to file their financial details if any party card holder was attached to them. Party card holders are not supposed to get involved with NGOs without prior permission from the party.
But Das, according to locals, had refused to take permission from the party and refused to submit any financial statement of the NGO.
“I have no idea whether he was running an NGO, he certainly did not take any permission from the party,” said the CPM district committee secretary.
There are other issues too, that belie the CPM claim that Das had been killed by TMC supporters.
The CPM had initially said that a group of miscreants attacked Das in retaliation to an armed attack on a TMC activist, Phulu Seikh.
But locals said minutes after Phulu was injured, Das called up one Kasher Seikh to arrange for an ambulance. “I cannot understand why the TMC will attack him,” said Kaser Seikh.
Bolpur SDPO Debasis Sarkar said it is difficult to identify the killers of Das at the moment. The police have arrested more than 15 people. “But it will take time to solve the case,” said Sarkar.