HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Somnath mulls ending political sanyas

Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Santiniketan, April 13, 2011
First Published: 15:59 IST(13/4/2011) | Last Updated: 16:02 IST(13/4/2011)

Former Lok Sabha Speaker and expelled CPI(M) central committee member Somnath Chatterjee is seriously rethinking whether to return to active politics and begin campaigning for CPI(M) candidates for the Bengal assembly elections.

"I'm rethinking my decision, but I'm yet to take a final decision. Although I took a conscious decision to retire, I feel like coming back and joining the campaign. Many CPI(M) candidates have requested me to speak out for them," Somnath Chatterjee, 81, told Hindustan Times at his residence in Goalpara, on the outskirts of Santiniketan, on Tuesday.

Chatterjee, Speaker of the Lok Sabha between June 2004 and May 2009, was expelled from the CPI(M) for "seriously compromising the party's position".

He had described the expulsion in July 2008 as "one of the saddest days" of his life, which terminated his 40-year-old relationship with the party (from 1968 and 2008). However, Chatterjee ruled out applying to the party for reinduction.

"I hadn't left my party. My party took a decision not to associate with me any longer," he said, quickly adding that the dissociation did not rob him of the party's ideals.

"One can't make me forget the party's ideals just by taking away my membership. I got many chances elsewhere, but refused. I was offered a membership of the Rajya Sabha by Manmohan Singh, which I politely declined," Chatterjee said.

"It won't be easy sailing for Mamata Banerjee. There's a calculated campaign against the CPI(M), against Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee," Chatterjee said.

"Maoists aren't allowing the CPI(M) to campaign and also asking the Congress to stay away. But they're silent on the Trinamool. What does this indicate?" he asked.

"If people want, a new government will come. But how can one undermine 34 years of Left governance? By saying it didn't do anything all these years, Mamata is insulting the people who elected the Left Front," Chatterjee added.

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