Kolkata: The Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its grief and sorrow at the death of former Speaker and ten-time Member of the Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee. The CPM party Politburo took several hours to express their condolence.The CPM party has referred him as a Lok Sabha speaker and a ten-time MP. But the party did not mention him as CPM’s longtime MP in the statement. Earlier, even being a close associate of Marxist leader Jyoti Basu, Chatterjee was expelled by the CPI(M) for “seriously compromising the position of the party”. And CMP is yet to accept the comrade Somnath Chatterjee as party’s leader even after his death.
Somnath Chatterjee was a veteran parliamentarian who played an important role in defending the foundations of the Indian Constitution particularly its secular democratic foundations and federalism. Somnath Chatterjee was the first communist in the country to don the role of a Speaker.He had been associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for most part of his life, leaves behind an imprint as one of the most illustrious Speakers of the Lok Sabha. As an eminent lawyer by profession, he also took up the cause of the working class and the deprived to ensure justice is delivered to them. The Polit Bureau conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife and children.
However, the state committee of West Bengal CPIM in their news release has mentioned that ‘Mr. Chatterjee’ as ‘Comrade Somnath Chatterjee’, the difference between the Politburo statement has suddenly raised confusion among the party activists and supporters.
Under the general secretaryship of Prakash Karat, the CPI(M) withdrew support to the UPA-I government in July 2008 over the Indo-US nuclear deal. Karat staunchly opposed the deal brokered by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
A two-day special session of the Parliament was held to see through a trust vote against the ruling government.
Karat wanted Chatterjee to step down and vote against the government. But Chatterjee defied the party’s diktat, refused to step down and oversaw the trust vote on July 23, 2008. He had said the position of Speaker was “independent and unbiased”, and that “the Speaker was above party politics”.
Although he was a close associate of Marxist leader Jyoti Basu,but Chatterjee was expelled a month later by the CPI(M) for “seriously compromising the position of the party”. He described the day as “one of the saddest days of my life”. He, however, continued as Speaker with the help of ruling allies.
He shared a close relation with CPI(M) stalwart Jyoti Basu who had also made him the chairman of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC), trusting him with the responsibility to turn the state around in bringing in investments and starting new ventures.