March 26: CPM leader Lakshman Seth said today that his relationship with the party would end after March 31, hours after he praised chief minister Mamata Banerjee for showing “firmness” that the Left government had not.
“Ektrish-e March er por ei party-r sathey amar ar kono samparka thakbena (I will have no relationship with the party after March 31),” Seth, the former Tamluk MP, told ABP Ananda over phone tonight.
Seth told The Telegraph tonight that the CPM had been “mentally torturing” him. “The Bengal (CPM) unit and the then state government were responsible for what happened in Nandigram. The state CPM is trying to make me a scapegoat in the Nandigram incident. At a time I am facing trial in the Nandigram (recapture) case, the party is trying to tarnish my image and keep itself clean,” he said.
“That is why I was dropped from the state committee. The CPM has also started an inquiry against me as it does not want me to contest the Lok Sabha polls,” Seth added.
The leader said he had “a feeling” that the party had “hatched a conspiracy” against him and planned to take action against him after the elections. “I can’t stay on in this party with respect. So I have decided not to renew my membership. I will have nothing to do with this party,” Seth said.
He added he wanted to “make it clear” that he would not join any other party before the Lok Sabha polls.
During another interview with the news channel earlier in the day, the disgruntled former MP had heaped praise on Mamata.
“Now, it seems Mamata Banerjee has become a mature political administrator. Violence and trouble have stopped in Jungle Mahal. Peace prevails in the hills. She has firmly said she won’t allow any division of the state. So it must be said she has guts,” Seth told ABP Ananda.
He added the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government had not shown the “firmness with which Mamata Banerjee was tackling” such issues. “When we were in power, our government did not show the firmness with which she is dealing with these issues.”
Earlier in the day, Seth had told two CPM district secretariat members from East Midnapore that he needed time to reconsider his decision of not renewing his party membership, the deadline for which is March 31.
Prasanta Pradhan and Prasanta Patra had visited Seth’s Calcutta home in the morning after speaking to CPM state secretary Biman Bose, sources said. Pradhan and Patra, who had brought along a membership-renewal form, called on Seth as he has been restrained by the Supreme Court from visiting East Midnapore because he is an accused in the 2007 Nandigram recapture case.
Seth had earlier written to Bose saying he did not wish to renew his party membership.
A section of CPM leaders said the party could have spared itself the “embarrassment” had it taken stern action against Seth earlier, as “suggested” by former chief minister Bhattacharjee after suspected supporters of the East Midnapore leader heckled some senior leaders who had gone to the district to probe allegations of financial irregularities against an NGO headed by the former MP.
“Buddhada wanted stern action against Seth. But that could not be done as many East Midnapore leaders had stood by Seth,” a CPM sources said.
It is an open secret in the party that Seth was dropped from the state committee on Bhattacharjee’s insistence.
According to another CPM leader, Seth, who runs educational institutions through the NGO, has complete command over the party’s East Midnapore unit.
A CPM state committee member said: “Seth’s dissociation with the party will surely affect our already-tottering organisation in East Midnapore. But his decision to quit will not have any impact outside the district.”
After the first of the two interviews Seth gave to ABP Ananda today, CPM leader Shyamal Chakraborty had said the disgruntled leader’s memory was probably failing fast.
“It seems Lakshman’s memory is failing fast and that’s why he is praising the chief minister. Our government never succumbed to the pressure of forming Gorkhaland. But the Trinamul government has incorporated the word Gorkhaland in the (GTA) treaty. Doesn’t Lakshman know that?” Chakraborty said.
“And what do I say about Jungle Mahal. Those who were killing people and our comrades have now joined Trinamul. That’s why we are not finding any trouble there,” he added.