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    Don't write off the Left: Prakash Karat

    New Delhi: In complete contrast to the triumphant Trinamool camp, the CPM Politburo on Monday met to introspect on its worst ever electoral showing in over three decades. The party which now enjoys power in just one state - Tripura - has ruled out any leadership change for now.

    Outgoing Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhatacherjee skipped the Politburo, the party though denies he has stepped down.

    "There are some who are claiming the epitaph for the CPM in West Bengal. They are mistaken," said CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat after the Politburo meet.

    "Even now we have 41 per cent of the votes. We will go into depth the reasons for this reversal and take measures for correcting it. State committees will submit a comprehensive review report for the central committee," said Karat.

    The politburo was in introspection mode as it comes to terms with the stunning loss in West Bengal, the Politburo is believed to have discussed what role it will play as the Opposition. There are some in favour of an obstructionist role, a view that hasn't found much favour.

    There is also a crisis of leadership in the state. Budhhadeb Bhatacharjee, the man who led the Lefts campaign, remained conspicuous by his absence. The party denied he had offered to step down from party posts.

    "He is not quitting. I am surprised by such reports. Buddho didn't attend this meeting because of the widespread violence in the state of Bengal. He didn't attend the Politburo meeting even after the Lok Sabha elections when there were attacks on our cadres," said Karat.

    Conversely, the man who almost led the Left to reverse the five-year trend in Kerala, remained out of the Politburo. A decision on VS Achuthanandan's reinstatement could be taken later. Reports that the left lost in some of its bastions as a result of sabotage could now be probed.

    "In Kerala the difference between the two fronts is only 0.89 per cent. This was a closely contested election," said Karat.

    The Central Committee in June, leading up to the party congress at the end of the year, will see tough questions whether or not it results in a change of leadership. The party while consistently dismissive of the Left increasing irrelevance is well aware its battling an existential crisis.