Kolkata: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi declared Monday at his first ever rally here that the days of West Bengal`s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) were numbered.
Recalling his recent visit to Russia, Gandhi told thousands at the Shahid Minar maidan to thunderous applause: "In Russia, the Communist regime came to end suddenly one day. It will happen here (West Bengal) too."
On a day`s visit to Kolkata, Gandhi denounced the Left Front government.
"The CPM does not belong to the poor people of the state - the adivasis, the marginalised and the poor," he said.
The CPM runs a privileged network of its people and shares the benefits of the administration through its "mafia-type" set-up, he said.
Gandhi arrived here earlier in the day to launch the membership drive of the Youth Congress in the state.
Clad in white kurta-pyjama, he reached the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose international airport after noon to the cheers of "Rahul Gandhi Zindabad" from party workers.
Ringed by members of the Special Protection Group ( SPG) and commandos of the state police, Gandhi headed for Raj Bhavan in a large convoy.
Congress general secretary K Keshava Rao, who is in charge of the party`s West Bengal affairs, state Congress chief Manas Bhuniya and Congress MP Mausam Benazir Noor accompanied Gandhi.
Gandhi accused the West Bengal government of siphoning off central funds meant for development programmes. But he kept mum on his party`s alliance with the Trinamool Congress in the state.