Chatterjee had told me he would resign, but did not: Acharya

July 26th, 2008 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Somnath Chatterjee

Kolkata, July 26 (IANS) Justifying the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)’s decision to expel Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, senior party MP Basudev Acharya Saturday said the veteran leader had promised to abide by the party directive to resign from the post but did not. “I personally had several rounds of discussions with Chatterjee on the resignation issue. He (Chatterjee) told me a few days before the trust vote that he will quit the Speaker’s post, but he did not,” Acharya, the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, told reporters here.

Acharya said Chatterjee’s expulsion from the party was not a spur-of-the-moment decision.

“The party had given him enough time to decide. We can’t ask him directly and publicly to quit his post.”

Asked whether it could be that the Speaker had not understood the party stand, Acharya shot back, “What do you mean by he did not understand? Leaving the decision to him does not mean that Chatterjee did not understand what the party expected him to do?”

Meanwhile, around 200 teachers, students and employees of Visva-Bharati in Bolpur, Chatterjee’s constituency, organised a silent march expressing their indignation at the punishment given to the veteran leader.

Holding aloft posters and banners, they went around the campus expressing their admiration for Chatterjee and his upholding of the Indian constitution by not quitting the Speaker’s post.

Sports Minister and senior CPI-M leader Subhas Chakraborty, who had earlier questioned the Left decision to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, has reportedly shot off a letter to state party secretary Biman Bose seeking clarifications on the action taken against Chatterjee.

However, there was no confirmation either from Chakraborty or the party.

The CPI-M politburo expelled Chatterjee from the party’s primary membership Wednesday after he defied the party directive and presided over the special session of parliament earlier this week during which the UPA government won the trust vote by a comfortable margin.

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