Kolkata, July 28 (IANS) Going ballistic against a section of the CPI-M’s central leadership for blocking General Secretary Sitaram Yechury’s re-entry to the Rajya Sabha with Congress support, Central Committee member Gautam Deb on Friday said there “could be serious problem in keeping the party intact” if the people of West Bengal were “insulted” time and again.
In an unusual outburst for a communist leader, Deb – a former West Bengal Minister – said some of the leaders were still affected by a bug about the Congress, and were not in tune with the changed situations.
Deb stayed away due to indisposition from the recent central committee meeting that turned down the state unit’s plea for re-nominating Yechury for the upper house polls with the Congress’ ready offer to support him.
Refering to the party backing Congress leader Meira Kumar in the just concluded presidential polls, Deb said “They may say that was the presidential election, this is for the Rajya Sabha. But is this any logic?”
“Actually, they are affected by bugs. If these bugs are not removed… one has to understand the changed situations. But they don’t.
“They write huge articles, undertake lecture tours, travel widely. ..But they must respect the rich experience the party has gathered in West Bengal.”
“They must at least respect the people of Bengal,” he said, in what is believed to be a criticism of former General Secretary Prakash Karat, who is understood to have led the hardliners in the recent Central Committee session that rejected the proposal to nominate Yechury for a third term in the Rajya Sabha.
Deb, who had been one of the architects of the Congress-Left Front alliance that came a cropper in the 2016 assembly polls, said the party has been built brick by brick in the state through decades.
“Today we may have lost. But we won for 34 years, and built the party. We are in a position to take on the (ruling) Trinamool Congress and the Congress in all Gram Panchayats. But if we don’t show respect to the people…”
“In the name of democratic centralism, nothing is being done. If they go overboard, then I don’t know what will happen.”
He also referred to the Central Committee not allowing party veteran Jyoti Basu to become Prime Minister in 1996. “Basu had told me so many times that he only wanted to see one budget. How could they (Central Committee) know beforehand what would happen if he became the prime minister?” he asked.
Deb said while they wanted to keep the party together, there was divergence of views between the state party leadership and the central leadership “in the line of issues”.
“I see we are not on the same page on a number of issues. How can we still be together? Why? Nothing is matching. There is divergence in the line of issues,” he said.
Calling for deep introspection, Deb said: “We need to study the situation deeply. We want to keep the party intact, this you have to understand.”
Citing the British’s failed bid to partition Bengal in 1905, he said: “There will be serious problem if you try to continue like this with Bengalis. British tried it by dividing Bengal in 1905. They couldn’t.”
With the party blocking Yechury, the Congress re-nominated its sitting member Pradip Bhattacharya, who has been promptly supported by the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress.
The Congress coming closer to the Trinamool does not augur well for the CPI-M led Left Front, as it was an alliance of these two parties (along with a small outfit the Socialist Unity Centre of India-Communist) that had brought to an end the Left’s 34 year rule in the state in 2011.
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