Kolkata: Dissident CPI-M leader and its frontman during the Nandigram movement Lakshman Seth Wednesday accused the party leadership of hatching a conspiracy to expel him, and praised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her guts and maturity as a political administrator.
Lashing out at the Communist Party of India-Marxist leadership, Seth said: “It has become a feudalistic party. I don’t want to continue as a member. It only hatched conspiracies to throw me out.”
Seth spent 118 days in police custody after the government cracked down on him for allegedly plotting violent incidents in Nandigram in 2007. He is now out on bail.
The former MP’s ire was directed at his party for removing him from the state committee and forming a commission to probe graft charges concerning an NGO with which he was involved.
“My party did not stand by me during my crisis, when the Mamata Banerjee government wrecked vengeance on me,” he said.
Seth said he was “disgusted” with the CPI-M leadership and would end his relations with the party by not renewing his membership which lapses March 31.
Stating that he felt pain “at the activities of the party leadership”, Seth said its leadership should be changed.
“The party has given a slogan that says it wants change in policy, not leadership. But the policy does not come from heaven. I’d rather say the policy cannot be changed if there was no change in the leadership.”
Seth, who wielded immense clout in the East Midnapore district during the last decade of the CPI-M led Left Front’s 34-year rule, said people did not err in voting out the Left Front from power in 2011.
“People did not make any mistake by defeating us in the 2011 assembly polls, or the 2009 Lok Sabha election. They rightly rose to the occasion. It was our failure.”
Seth then heaped praise on Trinamool chief Banerjee.
“Now at times, I feel Mamata Banerjee has matured as a political administrator. Under her, West Bengal has recovered a lot from the dismal situation it was in,” he said.
In what could be music to Banerjee’s ears, Seth said the Junglemahal, where the Maoists had a strong base for years, was now “peaceful” and everything was “quiet”.
“The Maoists have almost been finished.”
“The same thing holds true for the hills (in northern West Bengal),” the former Lok Sabha member from Tamluk in East Midnapore said, referring to the Gorkhaland agitation.
“Mamata has a lot of guts. She says with conviction that she would not allow any division of Bengal. We could not say the same with this much conviction when we were in power,” he added.
A two-member panel constituted to inquire into corruption and anti-party activities against Seth was recently heckled by his loyalists in East Midnapore district.
Seth is under the scanner following the sale of a medical and a dental college in Haldia to a private business group for a whopping amount.
CPI-M central committee member Shyamal Chakraborty described Seth’s coments as “unfortunate” and said the party would seek a reply from him.