Q: Is 2011 your toughest electoral battle since 1977?
A: After the Left Front emerged as a force to reckon with on Bengal’s political horizon we faced many battles. In 2001 we faced a tough fight. 2011 has acquired a new dimension because national and international forces have united against the Marxists in conjunction with Opposition parties.
Q: Do you feel that the Left Front has become a victim of the anti-incumbency factor?
A: I won’t say that the anti-incumbency factor is not there at all. But it is not the deciding factor in this election. The main factor is that communist party workers, who are supposed to work among the masses, identify the needs of the poor and ensure the implementation of development polices, have failed to do so across Bengal. That is why we initiated the rectification campaign. We took penal measures and announced them in public. It is a fact that between 2009 and 2010 membership of many of our men were not renewed. They were found incorrigible. Since 2007 thousands of our members have been dropped. Many were also demoted from committees.
Q: Does this mean that there was a point of time when people were given membership without proper scrutiny, bypassing the strict rules of your party?
A: Yes. In some districts the procedures were not followed while granting membership. We have taken serious note of this and we will stop such practices.
Q: In that case will the CPI(M) try to emerge as a youthful and transparent party in future?
A: Undoubtedly. While selecting our candidates for this election we introduced a 1-in-3 formula. It means out of every three candidates, one will be a member of the young generation, one will be middle-aged and one will be a veteran. Our youngest candidate is only 25 years old. There are many who are below 35 and a sizeable chunk are in their 40s. We will transfuse fresh blood.
Q: Are you optimistic that the Left Front will return to power for the eighth time?
A: There is no iota of doubt. It will be revealed on May 13.