Dubai: With the general elections barely two months away, Communist Party of India –Marxist (CPM) came up with a rather harsh decision on Wednesday, expelling senior party leader and former land and land reforms minister of West Bengal, Abdur Razzak Molla, from the party in view of “anti-party activities and public vilification of the party’s leadership.”

It was by no means an easy decision for CPM. Molla, 69, a 45-year party veteran and an eight-time lawmaker from the Canning East constituency since 1977, was also a grass roots leader and the face of the minority community within the CPM fold. With a huge chunk of the minority vote having decisively moved towards ruling Trinamool Congress in the state elections in 2011 and thereafter, chucking out Molla can have serious ramifications for a beleaguered CPM in rural Bengal. However, given Molla’s open revolt against the party, the CPM leadership had to send out a strong message. Speaking to Gulf News from Kolkata yesterday (Thursday), Mohammad Salim, CPM central committee member, said: “This was inevitable. Molla has been making derogatory comments about the party’s leadership for quite sometime now. Even though elections are close, we could not have put up with such audacity. And honestly, we are not even bothered about the fallout of sacking Molla. For the party, discipline and decency matter a lot more than electoral fortunes.”

Reacting to news about his expulsion, the diminutive Molla told newspersons in Kolkata late on Wednesday: “A most welcome move! Let me say this yet again that I am not anti-Left. My only issue is with pseudo- leftists.”

In fact, Molla was sticking out like a sore thumb ever since the CPM-led Left Front lost the state Assembly elections in Bengal in May 2011. Holding the outgoing chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, responsible for CPM’s severely flawed industry and land acquisition policy, that resulted in the poll debacle, Molla had said: “One who doesn’t even know how to handle a simple non-venomous serpent has tried to flirt with a cobra … the result is there for everyone to see!”

He had openly criticised the party’s choice of Hritabrata Bandyopadhyay as the CPM nominee for the recent Rajya Sabha polls. Much to the chagrin of the CPM’s state unit, only last week, Molla launched a new platform called Social Justice Forum and declared at its first public gathering that he would seriously consider using the platform for a new political identity in the coming days.