Following its worst electoral debacle, discordant voices within the Left parties appeared to be growing louder ahead of the crucial meeting of top CPI(M) leadership on Monday, which is likely to be skipped by its one time poster boy and outgoing West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
The leaders of four Left parties appeared to be talking in different voices, with the CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat suggesting fixed tenures for top party functionaries and his CPI counterpart AB Bardhan openly asking for a change in approach.
The only decision likely to provide some solace to the battered Left is the decision to name the former Kerala chief minister VS Achuthanandan as the leader of the Opposition, despite resistance from a powerful section of the state unit, opposed to the veteran leader.
Monday's meeting of the CPI(M) Politburo will discuss the reasons for rout in West Bengal after 34 years of uninterrupted rule and the narrow loss in Kerala, which according to some leaders, could have been turned into a victory had the top leadership not delayed the decision on Achuthanandan leading the party campaign.
The CPI(M) has denied reports about Bhattacharjee's offer to quit the Politburo and the Central Committee, taking the responsibility for the party-led front's worst performance in West Bengal.
"There is no basis for such reports," said the West Bengal Left Front chairman, Biman Bose.
He however, confirmed that Bhattacharjee would not attend the Politburo meeting. "He (Bhattacharjee) has been asked to stay back in view of post-poll result violence in different parts of the state," Bose said.
Karat, who is likely to come under fire for the string of reverses the party has faced lately, has floated the idea of a fixed tenure for party functionaries, including the general secretary.
"There has to be a cap on the number of terms the general secretary can have. It can be two or three or four terms. The leadership will decide it," karat told an English daily.
Karat's CPI counterpart, Bardhan, obliquely attacked the big brother CPI(M), for the defeat in both the states.
"Remain a Communist but not a dogmatic...Those who cannot change will be out. Either you change or you are out," Bardhan told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN's Devils Advocate programme.