Two prominent CPI(M) leaders, Abdul Rezzak Mollah and Lakshman Seth on Sunday accused the party as “incompetent and authoritarian” and called for urgent reforms from the top.
Mr. Mollah, who had in the past repeatedly slammed the party leadership as incapable of leading the charge, said the top brass had become “polluted” and accused it of doing little for the uplift of the minorities in the state.
“The CPI(M) was in power for 34 years, but it failed to do anything for the uplift of minorities and dalits. They talk of class struggle, but how will you achieve it without removing the caste system?” said the veteran Left leader, who is a prominent Muslim face in the party.
Mr. Mollah announced that he had formed a new organisation and vowed to give the state its first dalit chief minister and Muslim deputy chief minister.
He asserted that his new organisation would fight the 2016 Assembly polls in West Bengal and he would like to see a dalit at the helm and a Muslim as the deputy CM.
Mr. Mollah was also critical of the party’s rectification drive alleging that there was a lack of democracy in the party.
“There is a need for rectification in the party from the politburo to the state committee level. Then only you can carry on that process to local level. But how can you purify the Ganga, if the Gomukh, from where the river starts becomes polluted,” Mr. Mollah observed.
On the question whether he will quit CPI(M), he said, “Let them take action against me. Why shall I leave the party? It is an organisation as of now to battle for the oppressed.”
On the other hand, Mr. Lakshman Seth - a former MP and hailed as Haldia strongman, who had allegedly played a prominent role in the forcible land acquisition at Nandigram which eventually saw Trinamool Congress ride to power in West Bengal, dubbed the party leadership in Bengal as “authoritarian”.
Mr. Seth, who was dumped by the party for alleged dissident activity, also called for reforms.
Speaking on the sidelines of a programme here, Seth, a former CPI(M) MP from Tamluk in East Midnapore district, said, “The present (state) CPI(M) leadership is authoritarian and is centered around an individual.”
“I was chucked out of the state committee at the last party conference going against the rules framed by the central committee,” Mr. Seth, who had earned the displeasure of the leadership for his alleged role in the forcible land acquisition at Nandigram in 2007, said.
The state control commission of CPI(M) has initiated an investigation into allegations of corruption and anti-party activity of Mr. Seth. Following this, he sent a letter to the party leadership expressing a desire to quit from all posts and the party itself.
“What would you call the injustice meted out to me? This is much worse than a bourgeois system,” Mr. Seth felt.
He compared former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, without taking his name, to King Lear and predicted its downfall like the communist rule did in Soviet Union in 1991.
“When there is lack of democracy, authoritarianism takes over. But this system, within the party can’t go on for an indefinite period. The fall is imminent just like what happened in the former USSR,” Mr. Seth said.
Informed sources said that the once-formidable leader was miffed at the party for not standing by him in his darkest hour.
Mr. Mollah had been avoiding the party leadership and abstained from various state committee meetings despite repeated reminders.
The two leaders were speaking on the sidelines of a programme in Kolkata.