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Surya Kanta Mishra may step down as CPM secy after Bengal Assembly poll debacle

In view of CPI(M)’s poor show in the Assembly elections, its state secretary Surya Kanta Mishra  has decided to step down with Md. Selim or Sujan Chakraborty touted as his successor. The decision may be taken at a state conference next year, party sources said.

A senior CPI(M) leader said, “Surya da already wanted to step down after the devastating poll results first in 2019 (LS polls) and then in 2021 (Assembly polls). But the party leadership did not agree to it. Now, he is determined to step down in the next state conference and has informed the central leadership about it.”

The senior leader said the party had recently decided not to induct members above 72 years of age in the state committee. “Surya da is now 71 years old. So, it is almost decided that Surya da will not continue as the state secretary after the state conference.”

CPM sources said two leaders — Selim and Chakraborty — were among the frontrunners to replace Mishra. Another senior CPI (M) leader said, “Selim is competent, but in the last Assembly election, the coalition with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) did not work out. He was one of the forces behind the tie-up. On the other hand, Sujan Chakraborty has just been included in the central committee. So, the party leadership is hesitating to make him the state secretary now.”

Another section of the party is favouring an unknown face with organisational roots. “In that context, Sridip Bhattacharya is the most competent candidate. Mridul Dey is also a good candidate, but he is over 72 years of age,” said a senior CPI(M) leader.

To promote youths, the CPI(M) central committee, district committees and area committees have revised down the age criterion for members to 65, 60 and 65, respectively. The party is firm that revised rules should be enforced strictly.

However, the age revision has met some resistance from the old guard. Some leaders in the state committee questioned if it was important in politics to prioritise youth over experience.

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