Chatterjee to decide on continuing as speaker: Karat

July 27th, 2008 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Somnath Chatterjee

Kolkata, July 27 (IANS) Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat Sunday said it was for Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to decide whether he should continue in the post. Chatterjee was expelled from the party’s primary membership for defying its directive by presiding over the special session of parliament. “Whether he should continue as the speaker is for him to decide. But whether he should be in the party is for the party to decide,” Karat said while responding to queries about Chatterjee’s expulsion from the CPI-M and his continuance as the Lok Sabha speaker.

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 July 21-22 during which the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government won the trust vote.

Karat, however, said there were provisions for appeal in the CPI-M constitution against such expulsion orders.

He refused to comment to a query on whether party patriarch and former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu has endorsed the party’s stern action against Chatterjee.

“I don’t want to comment on this,” he said, when asked by the media as he emerged from the two-day deliberations of the party’s West Bengal state committee.

Karat did not entertain any more posers on the issue, saying: “We have already issued a statement a few days ago. I have nothing more to say on this.”

The CPI-M general secretary also claimed that his visit to the city was not an unscheduled one.

“My visit was not sudden. It was a scheduled trip to attend the state committee deliberations,” he said.

Karat’s comment was aimed at scotching speculation that his two-day visit was prompted by deep resentment in the state party over Chatterjee’s expulsion.

Chatterjee, who joined the CPI-M in the late ’60s, was a front-ranking party leader in the state, and was elected to the Lok Sabha ten times. He was also a former chairman of the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC).

On the state committee deliberations, Karat said: “We have discussed the important issue of the panchayat results. For us, this was very important.”

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