In an embarrassment to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) , dissident party leader Lakshman Seth praised Trinamool Congress chairperson and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, and demanded that there should be a change in the CPI(M) leadership.

Mr. Seth, former MP from Tamluk in Purba Medinipur, who has recently declined renewal of his party membership, described Ms. Banerjee as someone with “a lot of guts”. He is facing a party inquiry for alleged financial irregularities.

“At times, I feel Mamata Banerjee has matured as a political administrator. Under her leadership, West Bengal has recovered from the dismal situation it was in,” the CPI(M) leader, who has been debarred from entering the district as per a High Court order related to the Nandigram violence in March, 2007, said.

“The people did not make any mistake by defeating us in the 2011 Assembly polls, or the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. They rightly rose to the occasion. It was our failure,” Mr. Seth told a television channel.

Arrested for his alleged involvement in the disappearance of six persons from Nandigram during the violence in 2007, Mr. Seth was granted bail in July, 2012, and  the CPI (M) has started an inquiry against him for his alleged irregularities involving a medical and a dental college.

Referring to the situation in the State’s Jangalmhal region, Mr. Seth said everything was now “peaceful” and  “quiet”. The Maoists have almost been finished.”

“She (Ms. Banerjee) says with conviction that she would not allow any division of Bengal. We could not say the same with this much conviction when we were in power,” he added.