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Meet the bourgeois disciples of Marx

Meet the bourgeois disciples of Marx

Author: Amita Shah
Publications; Economic Times
Date: June 10, 2008
URL: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/Meet_the_bourgeois_disciples_of_Marx/articleshow/3115426.cms

Introduction: CPM Buys Land In Delhi Worth Rs 50 Crore For Rs 60 Lakh

The CPM, which is rated the richest organisation after the Church in Kerala, is doing well for itself in Delhi. Its clout at the Centre appears to have come in handy for getting four prime plots in the Capital.

It already has two prime properties in Delhi - one in the Gole Market area and the other on Rouse Avenue. While the revolutionary activities around the country are being dictated from the AKG Bhawan in Gole Market, the BT Ranadive Bhawan houses the party's trade union wing Citu's central office. The new plots that the CPM has acquired are on the Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg, close to Rouse Avenue.

The new plots, spread over 2,850 sqm have been allotted to the CPM for Rs 60 lakh, according to sources. The market value of these plots is around the range of Rs 45-50 crore.

CPM leaders here said that no rules were violated while giving land to the party. According to government rules, a party which has 50-100 MPs in both Houses of Parliament is entitled to one acre (around 4,000 sqm) of government land in the city at concessional rates. The CPM has around 60 MPs.

The scheme of land for political parties was conceived for providing accommodation for parties functioning from government bungalows in Lutyens Delhi. While parties like Congress, NCP and RJD need new buildings, the CPM and the CPI already have their own multi-storied offices.

Amassing real estate has been a pastime for the CPM. In states like Kerala, even the party's local committees have huge assets. Conservative estimates put the worth of CPM real estate in Kerala alone at Rs 4,000 crore.

The CPM has been in the news for encroaching government land in states like Kerala. The Congress recently charged the CPM with encroaching around half an acre near its state committee office belonging to the Kerala University. The party has also been using dubious means to collect funds for the party. Although it claims that its real estate are acquired with contributions from the cadre, the extent of its wealth shows its connections outside the 'working class'.

The CPM's grand land acquisition in Delhi clearly indicates a cosy arrangement between the Congress and the Left. The Left, which does not spare any opportunity to amplify its differences with the Congress and the government, has been quite successful in having its way in important postings. Rivals of the CPM have been alleging that the party is benefiting hugely from the patronage dispensation system of the Centre.

- amita.shah@timesgroup.com

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