Buddha to stay away from meet, CPM gets the jitters
For the first time, the former West Bengal chief minister has decided to skip the CPM party congress, which begins in Kozhikode on Wednesday, amid speculation that he wants to be relieved of his membership in the central committee and politburo.delhi Updated: Apr 04, 2012 01:51 IST
In a party that has always boasted of the collective over the individual, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is an exception.
For the first time, the former West Bengal chief minister has decided to skip the CPM party congress, which begins in Kozhikode on Wednesday, amid speculation that he wants to be relieved of his membership in the central committee and politburo. Bhattacharjee has communicated his inability to attend the party congress to CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, sources said.Once the face of the changing CPM in West Bengal, courting big capital and earning praises for his vision from all quarters, Bhattacharjee was devastated when – three generations later – the Left was ousted from West Bengal in the 2011 Assembly elections.
Since then, he has been sulking and staying away from key party meetings. Bhattacharjee’s decision to keep away from the 20th party congress, citing health reasons, is expected to further increase the CPM’s insecurity. After all, at 68, Buddadeb still remains the tallest leader of the party in a state that matters the most for the CPM.
“Though Bhattacharjee has owned up the debacle in the 2011 elections, he remains defensive about the policies he was pursuing. He, however, does admit to being insensitive to the question of land acquisition,” says a party leader.
Buddhadeb and his core team still believe theirs was the best way to create employment and bring prosperity to the state, he added.
However, the question of big capital and industrialisation continue to vex the party. For the first time, the CPM officially criticised the economic polices of China in its political resolution. On the other hand, leaders like Bhattacharjee and his fellow politburo member, Nirupam Sen, believe in replicating the Chinese model, albeit with India-specific safeguards.
When it comes to leadership in West Bengal, the party is not in a mood to hurry things up. A major shake-up can only happen if the CPM performance goes from bad to worse in 2012 and in the next Lok Sabha elections, feel many leaders.