|Biman Bose (left); Prakash Karat
Calcutta, June 3: Bengal CPM chief Biman Bose today said the state secretariat was “owning responsibility” for the Lok Sabha poll debacle, but general secretary Prakash Karat asserted that decisions would not be taken in a hurry.
Many CPM leaders have been demanding a change in the leadership in the aftermath of successive electoral setbacks, but the brass has not taken steps beyond holding customary review meetings and seeking reports from district units.
Sources said that by standing by the Bengal leadership, Karat had “killed two birds with one stone” — send the message to disgruntled state and central leaders that a change in the leadership at both levels was not imminent.
A source quoted state secretary Bose saying at the CPM state committee meeting at Alimuddin Street today: “There have been Trinamul anarchy and electoral malpractice. Everybody knows that. But we cannot deny the responsibility the party leadership has in any victory or defeat. The party state secretariat (the highest policy-making body at the state level) is owning responsibility for the electoral disaster.”
At a politburo meeting in Delhi on May 18, Bose had offered to take responsibility for the CPM’s rout in the Lok Sabha elections but was swiftly turned down by Karat, who had spoken of “collective responsibility”. The Left Front won just two of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal and witnessed a sharp drop in its vote share.
At today’s meeting, the CPM general secretary said inputs from all over the country would be analysed. “Karat was very clear while defending Bengal leaders and himself. He said ‘let inputs from all over the country come, let them be analysed threadbare and then only can things be concretised’. Referring to a leadership change, he said nothing would be done hurriedly at any level,” a CPM state secretariat member said.
Karat told reporters after the meeting: “We have a method to identify our strengths and weaknesses and discuss organisational and political corrective steps, how to revamp our party or adopt a new political line. We need not hurry so much.”
Asked whether the party conferences that are scheduled to begin late this year could be advanced, he said: “Everything will be in place, everything will happen at the right time. Nothing will be preponed or postponed.”
A leader said Karat’s comments had made it clear that changes, if any, could happen at the state-level party conferences and the central CPM congress that are supposed to begin late this year and continue till April.
At the state committee meeting, CPM leaders Moinul Hasan, Manab Mukherjee, Shamik Lahiri and Amal Haldar argued in favour of a change, while Asim Dasgupta and Basudeb Acharia called for status quo as of now, the sources said.
CPM politburo members Sitaram Yechury and Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar also attended the session.
A three-day politburo and central committee meeting will be held in Delhi from June 6 to discuss “rectification measures” and the “strategy to be adopted for an organisational revamp”, the sources said.