In his first hard-hitting reaction after expulsion from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has said he was now a "sinner" in the eyes of the party, and asserted that he would see how far those spreading "canards" against him could go.
Chatterjee also promised to reply to the "canards" being spread against him "in a day or two".
"I am a sinner in the eyes of the CPI-M and not a gentleman. That's why they thought I deserved the summary expulsion," Chatterjee was quoted as saying in a Kolkata-based English daily.
The Bolpur MP has been the target of a vitriolic attack by the Left leaders, who have branded him a "traitor", a "bourgeois" and one who always hankered for posts, after he defied the party diktat to step down from the speaker's post ahead of the July 22 trust vote in parliament.
"Let them say whatever they are saying. I would like to see how far they can go," Chatterjee said.
On allegations that he had "sided" with the government on the day of the confidence motion, Chatterjee said, "I tried to fulfill my constitutional obligations impartially."
He also questioned the CPI-M's claim that it was compelled to come down hard on him as he remained stubborn on not resigning despite the party exempting him from the trust vote whip.
"If they were being so accommodating - to the extent of allowing me not to vote (against the government) - why were they goading me to resign?" Chatterjee told the daily.
The Speaker reiterated that he would visit Kuala Lumpur for the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference Aug 1-10 and preside over the Hiren Mukherjee Memorial Lecture by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen in the Lok Sabha on Aug 11.
He said he was yet to decide on whether to continue in the post after Aug 11.
The CPI-M politburo expelled Chatterjee from the party's primary membership Wednesday, a day after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government won the trust vote with a comfortable 19-vote margin.