WITH THE Trinamool Congress decimating its rivals in Bengal and members of the Left flocking to the ruling party, CPM state general secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra on Friday admitted that the party needed to start afresh. In an unusually candid confession, he said the CPM was considering steps to overhaul the party in the state as its standard had fallen.
Mishra made these comments at a press conference as the first day of the two-day state plenum kicked off in Kolkata on Friday. Apart from the state leaders, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat and Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar attended the meeting. As many as 378 district and zonal leaders also took part in the meet.
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Addressing mediapersons, Mishra said, “The quality of leadership has fallen drastically. This has primarily happened because the attempt earlier was to expand quantitatively and increase the number of cadres. And, by doing so, quality has suffered. So, this has to be rectified.”
Mishra said the CPM’s top priority now was to refurbish the party’s image and “strengthen’’ the organisation in Bengal.
“There has been a disconnect. We need to reconnect and launch a mass movement. It is no longer enough for us to sell Leftist books at stalls during Durga Puja. We need to address real issues faced by the people,” he added. To this effect, Mishra announced that the CPM would concentrate on two areas. “We will look at increasing the membership of women leaders by at least 25 per cent by the 2018 panchayat polls,” he said.
Mishra added that it was time for the older leadership to make way for younger faces. “The average age of the party has to be reduced. We have decided to concentrate on increasing the membership of the youth in the party by 25 per cent by this December. And the age category we are working towards is 18 to 31 years,” he said.
Apart from “streamlining’’ the party, Mishra said the two-day plenum had been called to adopt resolutions passed by the party’s Central Plenum in Kolkata last December. “All the states have already done this. Since West Bengal had Assembly elections, our state plenum got delayed. The plenum’s main agenda will be to adopt the Central Plenum’s resolution,’’ said Mishra, adding that one of the main resolutions will be to continue the “fight against the BJP at the Centre and the Trinamool Congress in the state for restoration of democracy’’.