In what is being billed as a blow to the CPI-M in Siliguri, Darjeeling district party secretariat member Shankar Ghosh has tendered his resignation from the party. Ghosh has expressed grievances over the party’s style of functioning.

A known face and young leader, Ghosh today said that the Darjeeling district party committee denied him space for expressing different views and raising questions. Ghosh alleged that only “one influential person” or a “handful of such persons” would always impose decisions in the name of “democratic centralism.”

“I have been fighting against such undeclared rules in the party for a long time. Being a disciplined party man, I did not share my pains with any one inside or outside the party earlier. I believe there should be enough scope to share and raise different views, thoughts and ideas, but that remained unheard of and I have been sidelined for the past few years. It has hurt my self respect. The situation forced me to step down from the party,” said Ghosh, who also resigned as the member of the board of administrators at the Siliguri Municipal Corporation.

He submitted his resignation letter to the district party secretary, Jibesh Sarkar, yesterday. A first time councillor, Ghosh had been elected from Ward 24 in 2015. He was the member of the mayor-in council of health at the SMC until the tenure of the Left-run elected board ended in May 2020.

Hours after his statements to the media, the CPI-M expelled Ghosh for ‘anti-party activities.’

“Shankar Ghosh was given importance in the party. He had been selected as a member of the mayor-in-council in the civic board after being elected councillor for the first time. Violating the party discipline, he has made the letter public today. His allegations have no relevance. The actions reflect his personal ambition and he attempted to blackmail us,” said district CPI-M secretary Jibesh Sarkar.

Asked about the nature of the ‘personal ambition’, Sarkar said he wanted to contest the Assembly elections. CPI-M leaders said Ghosh’s exit would not affect the party.

Questions have been raised over the timing of Ghosh’s resignation. Ghosh dodged a question on whether he was planning to switch over to the BJP. Observers said that days before the elections, the party may face a “tricky situation, as the development can trigger an exodus.”

“Mr Ghosh had started his political journey in student politics through the SFI in the 1990s. He has a significant clout, especially on young activists. But we fear now that the development may encourage others, including dissidents, to follow suit, especially ahead of the elections. But we hope such a situation will not arrive,” a DYFI leader said.

In his resignation letter, Ghosh mentioned “serious differences” over having an electoral alliance with the Indian Secular Front (ISF) for the Assembly elections as, according to him, it was an “opposite stand” of the CPI-M when it came to religion.

“It may encourage divisive politics more. The issue should have been looked into seriously,” he said.

In the letter, he has also slammed the party leadership for not being vocal against the ‘opportunist politics’ of the Trinamul Congress in allowing Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha leader Bimal Gurung to carry out his political programmes against whom cases have been registered even under the UAPA.