Kolkata, Feb 5 (UNI) In a jolt to the Left unity in West Bengal, the Forward Bloc, a major coalition partner of the CPI(M), today called a statewide 24-hour bandh for tomorrow, protesting the 'barbaric' police firing at Cooch Behar in which four partymen were killed.
The RSP, another partner of the ruling Left Front and the entire Opposition, including the Trinamool Congress, supported the bandh on moral ground.
This was for the first time in the three-decades of rule of the Front that a constituent of the Front had called a bandh against the administration.
'' The incident is a shame and a blot on the Left Front Government. It is the result of our continued opposition to the one-party rule of the CPI(M) in the name of the Left Front, '' Forward Bloc state Secretary Ashok Ghosh said.
He alleged that police had resorted to indiscriminate firing on the Forward Bloc supporters, who were participating in a law violation programme at Dinhata in Cooch Behar district to press for implementation of the National Rural Employment Programme, guaranteeing job for 100 days.
The veteran leader said two of the victims, whose heads were smashed by police bullets, could not be identified.
'' We vehemently condemn this killing spree of police of the Left Front Government, which is supposed to be a tool for struggle of the working people, '' Mr Ghosh said.
He, however, ruled out any immediate possibility of the Forward Bloc pulling out of the Government in the wake of the incident, which was culmination of the party's growing rift with the CPI(M) over industrial and economic policies.
'' We are in the Government for political necessity. The day we will realise there is no such necessity, we shall come out, '' he added.
Forward Bloc General Secretary Debabrata Biswas condemned the police firing and said it was unthinkable in a Left-ruled state.
RSP state Secretary Debabrata Bandopadhaya also condemned the police firing and lent his party's moral support to the bandh.
The Opposition Trinamool Congress, Congress, SUCI, CPI(ML) Liberation and the Samajwadi Party also supported the bandh.
UNI KDG SJC NY HT2006