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Cry for leadership change at CPM meet

Sitaram Yechury and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the meeting at Alimuddin Street. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Calcutta, June 2: District leaders of the CPM today demanded a state-level leadership change in the presence of party general secretary Prakash Karat and politburo member Sitaram Yechury, sources said.

The district CPM leaders said they, too, had their share of organisational lapses but it was the state leadership that had “thoroughly failed” to stand by comrades who were allegedly attacked by Trinamul activists.

None of the leaders named Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee or Biman Bose at the state committee meeting, the sources said.

“The meeting was convened to discuss the reasons behind our rout in the Lok Sabha elections. It was a platform for us to articulate our feelings. That’s why spoke against the state leadership,” said a CPM state committee member.

“In the districts, there were organisational failings. But that doesn’t take away the blame from the state-level leadership. We demanded that they (the leaders) quit and a fresh start be given to the organisation with a new set of leaders,” the party leader added.

The CPM leader refused to name any possible set of leaders who could take over the reins from Bose, the party state secretary, or former chief minister Bhattacharjee, who currently does not hold any post in the party.

The Bengal comrades also tried to fix the blame on the CPM central leadership for its “third front hypothesis”, seeming to criticise Karat and Yechury but did not elaborate much on that.

The CPM politburo and central committee will meet in Delhi for three days beginning June 6 to discuss strategies.

In Bengal, the Left tally in the Lok Sabha election went down to two seats from the 15 it had won in 2009. Its vote share also dropped significantly from 39 per cent in the 2013 panchayat polls to around 29 per cent.

The sources said Burdwan CPM secretary Amal Haldar was vocal against the leadership. He said the party should ask all district secretaries to quit, adding that the leadership should also step down.

“What’s wrong if we quit and the leadership also paves the way for a change at the top,” Haldar was quoted as asking senior leaders.

Calcutta district committee member Manab Mukherjee demanded that the entire state committee and secretariat be dissolved and fresh party conferences advanced to boost the flagging morale of party workers, it was learnt.’

But the CPM state secretariat and the politburo have favoured the line of “collective responsibility” for the rout.