The CPM wants Somnathda back. A serious move is on within the “beleaguered and besieged” CPI(M) in West Bengal to bring back former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee into the party fold, 20 months after his expulsion.
The CPM Politburo expelled Chatterjee (80) on July 23, 2008, following his refusal to quit as Lok Sabha Speaker, after the Left withdrew support from the UPA government on the issue of Indo-US nuke deal.
The latest move is aimed at getting back “a mature face acceptable to urban people” in a desperate bid to check its sliding fortunes, a source said.
“Though we have been wanting Somnathda back for sometime now, the move has gained a fresh impetus following softening of the position by the central leadership on the issue now,” said a party central committee member from West Bengal.
HT has learnt that a Delhi-based CC member has been in touch with sources close to Chatterjee to find out about the mood of the veteran leader.
Since the expulsion decision was taken by the Politburo, therefore, according to the party’s constitution, it can only be revoked by the highest level.
“According to rules he would have to write to the party’s Control Commission and seek his return to the party, which Chatterjee is unlikely to do,” a source close to him said.
To avoid this problem, a section of the Bengal unit wants to offer him a post “befitting” his stature. “Don’t forget he successfully headed the West Bengal State Industrial Development Corporation earlier, even if technicalities prevent his formal re-entry into the party, he can be associated in some way with us,” a party leader said.
Chatterjee, who so far has publicly maintained that he would not approach the party, was not available for comment.