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Axed CPM leaders float outfit

Calcutta, July 2: Expelled CPM leaders Abdur Rezzak Mollah and Prasenjit Bose today floated a platform to fight the BJP and the Trinamul Congress, dealing another blow to the Left at a time its supporters are defecting to Narendra Modi’s party to seek protection from “atrocities”.

Although the platform, named Gana Mancha, does not have immediate plans of entering electoral politics, it is bound to bother the beleaguered Left because of the possibility of more desertions.

Senior leaders of some fringe Left organisations — the CPI(ML) Liberation, Mazdoor Kranti Parishad and the Radical Socialist — were present at the news conference where MLA Mollah and Prasenjit, a former convenor of the CPM’s research cell, floated the platform with the “objective of fighting Trinamul and the BJP”.

The formation of the Gana Mancha is significant if viewed against the backdrop of the demand for a change in the leadership of the Left Front after the Lok Sabha poll debacle. The clamour forced CPM veterans such as Biman Bose to launch a street movement and spend the night on the streets of Calcutta after three decades, promising to intensify the movement against Trinamul and the BJP.

“There is a serious credibility issue regarding the Left Front. The Lok Sabha election results have shown that its vote share has gone down by over 10 per cent,” said Prasenjit, who was expelled from the CPM for criticising the party’s decision to support Pranab Mukherjee as the presidential candidate.

Mollah said the thrust on “coercive land acquisition” and “SEZ policies” had detached the Front from the peasants and the working class.

Jayatu Deshmukh, a state secretariat member of the CPI(ML) Liberation, spoke of the “sufferings” of tea garden workers. “The problem with the Left Front is, whenever there is a death in a tea garden during the Trinamul regime, it is talking about what it had done for garden workers in its 34 years in power,” he said.

All the speakers at today’s programme said their biggest concern was the rise of the BJP in the state. They attributed the trend to people’s “angst” at the Trinamul regime and the “failure” of the Left to organise effective movements.

The Mancha has decided to visit the districts and stand by the victims of the “politics of retribution”.

“We want to stand by those who are becoming victims of Trinamul-led atrocities…. We will not see the political affiliations of those who are under attack, we will stand by everybody,” Prasenjit said.

Asked whether there was any possibility of the Mancha and the Front coming together in their fight against the BJP and Trinamul, Prasenjit said: “Let them hit the streets first, we will see whether our paths cross.”

Asked about the platform, CPM central committee member Mohammad Salim said: “There is no point discussing whether Mollah is trying to form a front and take on the CPM.”