Somnath Chatterjee wants new leadership in Left Front

Expressing sadness over the dismal performance of CPI-M in the two Assembly bypolls in West Bengal, former Lok Sabha speaker and expelled party leader Somnath Chatterjee on Tuesday said the signs for the Left Front were ominous unless new faces come to the fore.

IANS| Updated: Sep 16, 2014, 15:01 PM IST

Kolkata: Expressing sadness over the dismal performance of CPI-M in the two Assembly bypolls in West Bengal, former Lok Sabha speaker and expelled party leader Somnath Chatterjee on Tuesday said the signs for the Left Front were ominous unless new faces come to the fore.

He also expressed "grave" concern over the Bharatiya Janata Party's victory in Basrihat (South).

"There is no doubt that the signs are ominous. It's a sad state of affairs that the Left has not been able to get closer to masses. It's indicative of their organisational deficiency and as I have been advocating for some time now, it's high time there is a change in the leadership," Chatterjee told a news agency.

Opening its account in the state Assembly, BJP's Samik Bhattacharya wrested the Basirhat South constituency, while ruling Trinamool Congress retained the Chowringhee seat with Nayna Bandyopadhyay coming up trumps.

Chatterjee also expressed his concern over the rise of BJP in Bengal.

"It's a matter of great anguish and grave concern that Left is conceding ground to BJP and right wing forces are rising in Bengal. It's very painful to see the BJP reaping benefits of the Saradha issue and the not Left. I hope, those at helm are taking serious note of it and they must undertake immediate steps to arrest the decline," added Chatterjee.

Echoing similar views Udayan Guha of the Left constituent Forward Bloc, too advocated a change in leadership.

"Nothing can be more alarming than BJP winning the Basirhat South which has long been a CPI-M stronghold. Since the 2011 Assembly polls, Left has been steadily eroding making it evident that we have not been able to reach out to the voters. It is now apparent that people are not liking few of the leaders and it's high time new faces and young legs take up the mantle," Guha, a MLA from Dinhata in the state, told a news agency.

Guha also dubbed as "humiliating" CPI-M's Faiyaz Ahmed Khan losing his deposit from Chowringhee.

"What can be more humiliating? It's alarming to see BJP now asserting itself as the chief opposition in Bengal. Time has come for taking drastic steps to revive out fortunes," added Guha.