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When it comes to cocking a snook at the law, even the Marxists won’t be left behind. By the CPI(M)’s own admission, as many as 70,000 party men have criminal charges pending against them. Of these, 7,000—including minister of state for small scale industries, Narayan Biswas—are ‘fugitives’ against whom non-bailable arrest warrants have been pending for many years. The police have not been able to ‘trace’ the accused and the EC is now moving to strike off the names of these absconders from the electoral rolls. The Opposition Congress and the Trinamool Congress have, naturally, got a stick to beat the CPI(M) with. CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, keen on projecting a clean image, has wanted to drop Biswas for some time now. But strong opposition from a large section of his party has tied his hands.