Somnath Chatterjee turns 80 | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Somnath Chatterjee turns 80

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was expelled from CPI(M) two days ago for defying party directive to quit the post, turns 80.

delhi Updated: Jul 25, 2008 15:09 IST

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was expelled from CPI(M) two days ago for defying party directive to quit the post, turned 80 on Monday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent one of his officials to the 20, Akbar Road residence of the Speaker this morning to convey his birthday wishes to Chatterjee. The official presented a bouquet to him on behalf of Singh.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi also greeted the Speaker, who was born is Tezpur in Assam on July 25, 1929 in a conservative family. An official of the NABARD also met Chatterjee to convey his greetings on the occasion.

Chatterjee, whose father N C Chatterjee was a Hindu Mahasabha leader, was in the news recently after he took on the CPI(M) leadership by defying the party directive to quit the post after the Left parties withdrew support to the UPA.

He was educated in Kolkata and England and obtained his post-graduate degree from the Cambridge and Bar-at-Law from Middle Temple.

It was in 1968 that he joined politics and CPI(M) and three years later he was elected to the Lok Sabha from his home constituency of Bolpur. Chatterjee had won all the Lok Sabha polls except once in 1984 when he suffered a shock defeat against the then Congress leader Mamata Banerjee in his traditional Jadavpur constituency, a CPI(M) stronghold.

Chatterjee was one of those in the party who had supported CPI(M) patriarch Jyoti Basu's candidature for Prime Ministership in 1996, a move that was shot dead by majority hardliners in the party culminating in the "historic blunder".