No democracy in Bengal, demand for President’s rule merits discussion: Somnath Chatterjee
“In democracy, one cannot establish the right to rule by using force. The demand for promulgation of Article 356 (of the Constitution) has been raised in certain quarters. The situation is reaching a stage where such a demand will merit discussion,” Somnath Chatterjee said.Updated: Apr 25, 2018 22:48 IST
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
There is no apparent sign of democracy in Bengal and the law and order situation is reaching a stage where a demand for President’s Rule will merit consideration, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee said in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Referring to the violence over filing of nomination papers for panchayat polls, Chatterjee requested the media to report the truth. “In democracy, one cannot establish the right to rule by using force or misusing the police. People of Bengal will not accept this for long. The demand for promulgation of Article 356 (of the Constitution) has been raised in certain quarters. The situation is reaching a stage where such a demand will merit discussion,” Chatterjee said.
“I want to ask the chief minister why there is so much violence given the fact that her party enjoys absolute majority,” Chatterjee said.
It was Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s state president Dilip Ghosh who first talked of President’s Rule on April 23 amid violence across Bengal.
The CPI(M) had expelled Chatterjee, a former 10-time Lok Sabha MP in 2008, because he did not step down as Speaker of the Lok Sabha after his party withdrew support from UPA-1 over the Indo-US nuclear deal. On Wednesday, opposition leaders said the veteran lawyer and Constitutional expert had correctly gauged the ground reality.
Ever since nomination for the rural polls began on April 2, opposition parties have alleged that supporters of the ruling party unleashed violence to prevent their candidates from submitting nomination papers. Seven people lost their lives and hundreds were injured during filing of nominations from April 2 -9 and on April 23.
Commenting on Chatterjee’s remark, Bengal panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee said, “I have a lot of respect for Somnath Chatterjee, the lawyer. But if he finds merit in the demand for President’s Rule over such small issues, I don’t feel there is any need to comment on it.”
Trinamool secretary general Partha Chatterjee said, “When people get old, they often repent. After all, Chatterjee is a senior politician who failed to establish democracy in his own party.”
However, the former Lok Sabha Speaker had some support. “Chatterjee is a veteran parliamentarian. Any sensible person will say there is no rule of law in Bengal. The administration has collapsed because it is not in control. Goons are running the show,” alleged CPI(M) politburo member Md Salim.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national secretary Rahul Sinha also agreed with Chatterjee.
First Published: Apr 25, 2018 22:47 IST