A senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader on Monday said the ruling Left Front's victory in next year's West Bengal assembly polls would be a "miracle".
CPI general secretary AB Bardhan's comments came at a media meet where he ruled out replacing Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee but regretted that the corrective steps taken by the Left Front government had come pretty late.
"I think changing A and putting in B is not correct. Changing leaders in midstream when you are approaching the bank is not good," Bardhan said. The CPI is a partner of the Left Front government.
Instead, the ruling Left Front - which has suffered a series of electoral setbacks of late - should learn the right lesson from the electoral results, go back to the people and take proper corrective steps, he said.
"Yes, the government is now taking steps. My only complaint is that it is pretty late. It should have been taken earlier," Bardhan said.
Admitting that the Left Front - which is ruling the state uninterruptedly since 1977 - has lost the confidence of a section of the people, the top CPI leader said: "If it goes back to the people and takes corrective steps, it can still carry out a miracle."
"Many of those who have now switched allegiance to the other side, are confused. Their place is not with the anti-Left forces. I hope they will come back before the polls," Bardhan said.
The CPI general secretary said debacles do not disorient or demoralise Communist cadres.
"I am not a fortune teller. We are fighting in order to win. In an election only two things are possible. You either win or lose. If we lose the sky will not fall. In Kerala, our Left Democratic Front also wins and loses.
"The front is prepared for a win, the Left Front is prepared for a fight, and the LF is prepared for any result," he added.
He said while the Left Front was still a strong force in the state, winning the support of 40 percent of the voters, the problem lay in the remaining sections coming together.
"All anti-left forces have come together. But I am quite sure the left is sure to face the challenge."
However, he rejected main opposition Trinamool Congress demand for advancing the assembly polls, saying there was no rationality behind it.
"This is being repeated time and again to keep up the morale of the opposition," he added.
Bardhan adroitly parried a query on the state's chances of getting its first woman chief minister after the assembly elections.
Fully realising the obvious reference to Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, Bardhan wriggled out saying "There are ladies in the Left also. They are also very competent."