In the first sign of a fissure in the CPI(M)’s Bengal leadership, outgoing land and land revenue minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah squarely blamed Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and outgoing industry minister Nirupam Sen for the Left Front’s decimation in the assembly polls.
Mollah, 66, a strong critic of the Left Front government’s land acquisition policy, went a step further by predicting that the Left was unlikely to stage a comeback in the next assembly elections in 2016.
One of the few ministers to retain his seat in the wave of change that swept Bengal, Mollah lashed out at Bhattacharjee and Sen soon after the results were declared on Friday.
Calling Sen the “chief architect” of the strategy that led to the party’s defeat, Mollah questioned Bhattacharjee’s capabilities as a leader. “He (Bhattacharjee) did not have the dexterity to catch a harmless snake but he tried to ensnare a cobra,” Mollah said, referring to big industrialists as cobras.
On the Left’s prospects of returning to power, Mollah said, “If Trinamool is able to gain control of the majority of zilla parishads in the 2013 panchayat elections, it will come back to power again in 2016. Our chances of coming back will arise only if we do extremely well in the next panchayat polls. But considering the present scenario, that will not be easy.”
Besides, Mollah said Mamata Banerjee might call for early panchayat polls in 2012. “If we can prevent her from capturing most of the zilla parishads, we may have a chance of coming back. But that is not easy as the ruling party always has an edge in panchayat elections.”