March 28: CPM state secretary Biman Bose today wondered if expelled leader Lakshman Seth’s outburst against Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was the fallout of a denial of “personal benefits”.
Asked about former MP Seth’s statement yesterday that ex-chief minister Bhattacharjee should have been expelled from the party for his public apology for the Netai firing, Bose told reporters in Siliguri: “Such comments were made out of a personal grudge. We suspect he (Seth) might have approached him (Bhattacharjee) when he was chief minister to get some personal benefits and was either refused or reprimanded. He got frustrated and so, is making such comments now.”
Bose’s observations drew a sharp response from Seth, who was expelled from the CPM yesterday for “grave anti-party activities” and “tarnishing the party’s image in public”.
“Let Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee say I had sought any personal favour when he was chief minister. If he can prove that, I will apologise in public. I never sought any personal favour from Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee,” said Seth, who heads an NGO.
Bose said the party was left with no option but to expel Seth, an accused in the Nandigram recapture case who spoke out against the CPM leadership several times in the past few months.
“Our party always gives chances to leaders like him to rectify themselves. In his case, a similar process had been initiated. But when it was found that he was not ready to rectify himself, we had no alternative but to expel him,” the CPM state secretary said.
A section of CPM leaders had said yesterday that the party should have taken action against Seth long ago but had also pointed to compulsions such as possible repercussions in East Midnapore, where he is perceived to wield clout.
Bose today asserted that Seth’s ouster would not affect the party “in any way”.
Asked if Seth could join Trinamul, Bose said: “I want to make it clear that there are some people who do not find it convenient to live in unfavourable situations. This is a similar case. We, however, have no idea whether any interaction or meeting was held secretly or a compromise was made.”
Seth iterated over the phone from Calcutta that he would not join Trinamul. “What does he (Bose) want to say, I have already joined Trinamul? There is no question of joining Trinamul. I have not quit the CPM for any personal gain.”
Seth said the question of rectification did not arise. “The party never issued any showcause letter. It is clear that the party had decided long ago to expel me,” he said.