The crisis the Left Front (LF) is facing in West Bengal is due to its own failures and has little to do with Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee's political appeal, state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told HT on Friday.
"The real issue is our own failures and we have been taking corrective measures since the 2009 Lok Sabha election. People who left us in 2009 have since returned," he said in his first interview after assembly elections were announced.
Dwelling at length on the failures of the CPM on the organisational and governmental fronts, Bhattacharjee said, "The party had become the new elite in rural Bengal. It had been interfering in the personal lives of people. This harmed us. We are making corrections."
Though he said the Left Front was confident of retaining power, Bhattacharjee admitted this would be the toughest contest the CPM has ever faced.
The chief minister defended his industrialisation drive but admitted his government had made mistakes.
"Land is a sensitive issue and I learnt it the hard way. After the Singur-Nandigram incidents, we mapped the entire state's land and identified areas that are not fertile," he said.
As for his archrival, Banerjee, he said, "She has no vision or plan. She's absurd and childish. Hers is a one-person party."
In contrast, Bhattacharjee said the CPM "still has the most honest people. But that's not enough for communists. We haven't renewed the memberships of many who failed the personal integrity test. We have warned others. We have taken into account the public image of candidates while distributing tickets."