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CPI-M attacks Ray after death
Published on 7 Nov. 2010 11:50 PM IST
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The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which was scathing in its attacks on former West Bengal chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray when he was alive, was Sunday unsparing in its criticism a day after his death.
The CPI-M's Bengali mouthpiece "Ganashakti" dubbed Ray's chief ministerial stint (1972-1977) as a "dark phase" in the state's history. It blamed him for unleashing "semi-fascist terror" to put leftist workers behind bars or get them murdered at the hands of "anti-socials sponsored by the Congress".
While the criticism was nothing new, it drew attention as the daily launched the assault while dwelling on the life and achievements of Ray, who died of renal failure here Saturday. The newspaper had described as "improper" and "ungraceful" some media reports staunchly critical of Marxist icon Jyoti Basu after he died in January this year.
Assailing Ray for having "influenced the decision" to topple the first United Front government in 1968, the paper said he also played a role in denying CPI-M the chance to form a government in 1971 despite the Marxist party emerging as the single largest party. The daily accused Ray of rigging the 1972 assembly polls, it said "the elections were converted into a farce" prompting the leftists to boycott the House proceedings for the next five years.
"His chief ministerial reign is regarded as the darkest phase in West Bengal's history. On the pretext of crushing the Naxalites (Maoists) and safeguarding law and order he had for all practical purposes declared an emergency in 1972 itself," the daily said.
"The Siddhartha Ray government's semi-fascist terror led to arrest of Left party workers and their murders at the hands of the Congress-sponsored anti-socials," the daily said.
Alleging that many left workers were forced to flee homes, it said "many of them were sacked from jobs and many trade union offices were taken over by the anti-socials".
"Ganashakti" also trained its guns on Ray for playing an active role in the declaration of nationwide emergency June 25, 1975.
However, the paper conceded that Ray got certain amount of success in combating the Khalistani terrorists as Punjab governor between 1986 and 1989, but commented that questions had been raised then regarding the state of democracy in Punjab in the absence of an elected government.
The paper also had some good words for Ray's personal relations with Marxist icon Jyoti Basu. "As they were contemporaries, there existed a personal close relation between them that transcended differences over political ideology," it said in the write-up.
"But be it in the 1970s or now, his role was never conducive to strengthening democracy. The well-meaning people of the state never felt endeared to him for importing terror and anarchy," it said.

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