Calcutta, Aug. 23: Abdur Rezzak Mollah yesterday called for a shuffle in the CPM state leadership and questioned the way the party was evaluating its panchayat poll performance, triggering a debate over the course the Left should take to remain relevant in Bengal.
Mollah, the outspoken MLA who had criticised Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Nirupam Sen after the 2011 Assembly election debacle, made the comments while delivering a speech at the CPM’s state committee meeting in Calcutta in the presence of party general secretary Prakash Karat.
Mollah also submitted to the state committee, the CPM’s highest decision-making body in Bengal, a note mentioning the points he raised in his speech.
His comments came at a time the state leadership is apparently running out of ideas on how to arrest the slide in the CPM’s support base.
A state committee member said after the meeting: “Some of the points Rezzakda raised are valid and there is a need for a debate over his note.”
Some state committee members walked up to Mollah after the meeting to congratulate him for his speech, making it clear that a section of the leadership was not happy with the way the party was being run.
“Our central leadership is talking about an organisational revamp. I would like to stress there is also a need for a shuffle in the state leadership,” Mollah reportedly said in English, stealing a glance at Karat.
Mollah questioned the way the party was evaluating the rural poll performance. “This approach of praising the performance in some districts and pulling up other districts is wrong…. Such comparisons shift the focus on organisational issues from political reasons, which I believe resulted in our defeat,” he said.
“We have to understand why the party swept the polls in 2006 and then lost miserably in 2011 with the same organisational strength,” he added.
After the rural poll results were announced, a section of state-level leaders had apparently targeted the party leadership in central districts such as Burdwan, Bankrua, Purulia, West Midnapore and Birbhum while hailing the performance in North and South 24-Parganas. This section had tried to establish that social disconnect in central Bengal led to the poor showing.
Such an approach was criticised by some leaders who had said the ground reality in each district was different. They had said the party had been targeted by Trinamul in Burdwan while “attacks on cadres” was much less in the two Parganas.
Mollah said the attempt by a section of leaders to cash in on the split in anti-Left votes by trying to widen the gap between Trinamul and the Congress was faulty, a view supported by some district leaders.
A section of leaders advocating a tactical line to support the Congress to weaken Trinamul had prevailed upon the CPM’s central leadership to support Pranab Mukherjee in the presidential election.
“Rezzakda has been told the party would respond to his note,” a leader said.
Burdwan CPM leaders Abhash Roy Chowdhury and Rathin Roy echoed Mollah and highlighted the party’s failure to organise mass movements over the Saradha default crisis, atrocities against women and farmer suicides.