The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, along with two other senior party leaders — Shyamal Chakraborty and Ram Chandra Dome — met former Lok Sabha Speaker and expelled party stalwart Somnath Chatterjee for lunch at his home in Shantiniketan, Birbhum on Sunday. Party insiders said the two-hour meeting was another step to re-induct Chatterjee into the party.
Chatterjee, however, down-played the importance of the meeting, saying, “There was no discussion to rejoin the party. It is not possible for me too, to join the party, officially. Yes, I support them [CPM]. I have retired from politics. Earlier, I had joined their election campaign and political activities on the basis of their invitation. Now my health doesn’t permit me.”
Later in the afternoon, Yechury and Chatterjee shared the stage during the inauguration of a science building of Purni Devi Mohila Mahavidyalay at Bolpur.
The issue had also been raised during the CPM’s state conference recently in the presence of former party general secretary Prakash Karat, who had allegedly played a key role in Chatterjee’s expulsion in July 2008.
Earlier in July, Yechury had shared the stage with Chatterjee, the first time ever after latter’s expulsion from the party, to mark the conclusion of former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu’s 102nd birth anniversary in Kolkata.
Yechury said, “There is no need of any formal discussion to bring him [Chatterjee] back to the party. He is with our party — he is campaigning for us, participating in our party programmes. So this is not a formal issue whether he will rejoin us or not.”
The veteran Chatterjee had been expelled after he had refused to quit from the post of Speaker in the aftermath of the Left parties withdrawing support from the UPA-1 government at the Centre in protest over the Indo-US nuclear deal.