CPI general secretary A B Bardhan feels that the loss suffered by the Left parties since Lok Sabha elections is a “ very serious setback” for the entire Left movement.

The loss suffered by the Left parties since the Lok Sabha elections is a “very serious setback” for the entire Left movement in the country, he said.

The recent elections were “a very serious setback, in fact the entire Left movement suffered a setback,” the CPI general secretary said, adding that the “defeat was a grim reminder of what went wrong with the Left Front (in Bengal)”.

In an interview to Karan Thapar in his ‘India Tonight’ programme, Mr. Bardhan said “from what started as something against the Left Front government, it’s now become generally an anti-Left and anti-Communist movement. That is I think a very dangerous trend.”

However, he added that this was “not an endorsement of (Trinamool Congress leader) Mamata Banerjee’s policies or programmes because what they are not known to the people as yet and I am not sure she knows that herself.”

In a frank admission, the veteran Communist leader said the results were a vote against the Left and the performance of the state government and “against what they should not have done or what they have done.”

Expressing concern over the “fall” in the number of seats, he said “if the Left Front had functioned as a front, if it had listened to the voice of the people, if the LF and some of its partners ... had not started thinking that they are for keeps and they will last forever just because they had been there for three decades, when you start thinking like that you become undemocratic.”

Asserting that “Communists are capable of correcting themselves”, the CPI leader said if mistakes are corrected, then the Left Front could turn around.

“If there is realisation that what is wrong needs to be corrected, if one realises that one’s lifestyle, one’s behaviour with the people, one’s arrogance is to be given up, people will still be behind the Left because it has a programme and has done a lot of good things in West Bengal,” he said.

He admitted prevalence of corruption in lower and middle levels of the party apparatus.

Observing that the CPI(M), as the biggest Left party, should take the major responsibility for the debacle and work to retrieve the lost ground, he said “I do believe that at the top they (CPI(M) leaders) are trying their best, they are worried. It has to penetrate down below.”

Asked whether the CPI(M) leadership got distanced from the people, he said “I think so. All of our people got distant from the people and I will blame them all.”

Mr. Bardhan also blamed the CPI(M)’s partners - CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc - for not correcting their larger partner, but said “I would not like to make it appear as if we were the ones who were trying to correct every time and they were the ones who were refusing to be corrected. That will be pitting them against the others.”

On advancing the Assembly polls slated for 2011, he said there was no need for it or to resign as “that would mean like running away from the battlefield and I do not want to resign now.”

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