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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, December 18, 2011
The humiliating defeat of the Left Front in the 2011 West Bengal assembly elections was a punishment for the growing corruption in the coalition, especially the CPI(M), said former West Bengal chief minister and the CPI(M) politburo member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

"Some people associated with the party used this as a platform to mint money. The people have punished us for that and we were thrown out. We have to remove these bad elements from the party without fear. Their removal will not harm the party at all. There are thousands of members who work for the party, wearing simple, unclean clothes and leading a simple life. We are proud of them," Bhattacharjee said while addressing a party workers' meet organised by the CPI(M)'s Nadia district committee in Krishnanagar, 100 km north of Kolkata, on Sunday.

In 1993, Bhattacharjee had quit the Jyoti Basu government on the corruption issue. He returned a few months later.

Bhattacharjee also emphasised a correction of the mistakes by the party and his government. "Do not forget ours is the party of the red flag. We have to rectify our mistakes..."

The former chief minister said it was time for the CPI(M) to face the misrule of the Trinamool Congress bravely.

"The people of the state are suffering ... How can we remain silent in such a situation?" Bhattacharjee asked.

He also lambasted the Union government for its "anti-people" policies and alleged the Trinamool Congress was quiet.