Nobody is above party: West Bengal communists (Lead)

July 23rd, 2008 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Somnath Chatterjee

Kolkata, July 23 (IANS) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s expulsion from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) was justified as he had “breached party discipline”, party leaders in West Bengal said Wednesday. CPI-M secretary Biman Bose said anyone intending to become a member of his party has to give a declaration at the time of joining that he would abide by the party’s constitution and policy.

“If anybody does not do so, then the party has the right to sever all connections with him according to clause 19 (13) of the party constitution”.

“He did not relinquish the speaker’s post despite the party’s directive. He had breached party discipline,” Bose said.

Communist Party of India (CPI) West Bengal secretary Manju Kumar Majumdar told IANS: “In a Communist party, every member has to go by the party decision. Somnathbabu did not do so. So, the party has taken a decision.”

Pointing out that nobody was above the party, Mamjumdar recalled that the CPI had expelled a person of the stature of S.A. Dange for violating party discipline.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, the main opposition voice in the communist-ruled state, felt the CPI-M should have cracked the whip on Chatterjee days earlier.

“Chatterjee should have resigned when the CPI-M withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. He did not do so. The CPI-M should have taken action against him much earlier,” Banerjee said.

The CPI-M leadership at a meeting in New Delhi Wednesday afternoon decided to expel Chatterjee from the party.

Chatterjee was under pressure to resign from the constitutional post after the four Left parties withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government following their differences over the India-US nuclear deal.

However, the 79-year-old veteran parliamentarian refused to tow the party line and steered the house during the crucial session Monday and Tuesday, in which the government proved its majority.

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