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Ire at ‘Her Majesty’s Opposition’

Calcutta, June 10: The Left Front leadership today came under attack from both within and outside a day after Mamata Banerjee’s “kiss of death”.

During a Front meeting today, a volley of questions were hurled at the leadership for its decision to send a delegation to the chief minister seeking her intervention in stopping political violence that has allegedly rendered over 48,500 cadres homeless.

Although a 12-member delegation went to Nabanna armed with a memorandum with details on “atrocities” against CPM workers, it failed to convince Mamata about its allegation and got a lecture on how to stave off the BJP in Bengal.

“Ground-level workers are viewing it as the leadership’s abject surrender to the ruling party. The meeting with the chief minister has sent a wrong message,” a CPM state committee member said.

“Do we have to learn how to fight communalism from someone who was a minister in the BJP-led NDA government?” he asked.

A section of Left leaders made it clear during this morning’s meeting that the Front should not have made any attempt to seek an audience with the chief minister.

Although some leaders tried to reason that their visit had put the focus on post-poll clashes, sources said RSP leader Manoj Bhattacharya said there was no need to be euphoric. “She agreed to meet our leaders because she is aware that the Left has been pushed to a corner,” he reportedly said at the meeting.

A CPM leader said: “People annoyed with the Trinamul regime, including our supporters, voted for the BJP as they considered the party to be a more potent force to deal with Mamata. Was it necessary to go and meet the chief minister and give the impression that the Left and Trinamul were coming together to keep the BJP at bay?”

Expelled CPM leaders Abdur Rezzak Mollah and Prasenjit Bose echoed similar sentiments in a statement, criticising the CPM for its “pathetic surrender before the authoritarian and anti-people government in Bengal”.

“The chief minister wants the Left to act as Her Majesty’s Opposition. It is disturbing to see the Left leaders trying to oblige her. They have failed to mobilise movements against the anti-people policies of the state government and are now begging for her mercy over tea and snacks,” it says.

The BJP latched onto the opportunity of hinting at the possibility of a Trinamul-Left understanding.

“Are they coming together? If that is the case, we will ask CPM cadres who have braved Trinamul onslaught for the last three years, what they feel about this? We have the same question for Trinamul supporters who were subjected to CPM atrocities during Left rule,” said Rahul Sinha, the state BJP president.

At a media conference, Front chairman Biman Bose denied that the Left had given in to Trinamul and drew a parallel.

“Even after 1972, when we had boycotted the Assembly session alleging massive rigging by the Congress, Jyoti Basu had led a delegation to submit a similar memorandum to then chief minister S.S. Ray. We did not go there to either satisfy the government or ourselves,” he said.