Somnath guns for Karat, says he should step down

May 18th, 2009 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Somnath Chatterjee Kolkata, May 18 (IANS) Gunning for Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat’s head for the Left’s electoral mauling, expelled party member and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee Monday said the “needle of responsibility” points at Karat and he should consider resigning.
Chatterjee, who was thrown out of the party for refusing to obey the party diktat to step down as speaker during the July 22, 2008, trust vote in parliament, also described Karat’s attempts to cobble up a Third Front grouping with an aim to form an alternative government as “suicidal”. He said a responsible and able leadership should take over the reins of the Marxist party.

Chatterjee regretted the disastrous Lok Sabha poll results of the party in West Bengal and Kerala. The Left parties’ Lok Sabha tally this time has been just 24, with the CPI-M’s share at 16 - the lowest in three decades.

“I am no more a CPI-M member. But I do feel sad at the present situation. I feel the party leadership should analyse the results with due importance and take corrective measures,” Chatterjee said in a signed article in Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.

Chatterjee said the mistakes can be rectified either through the resignation of the leadership or through a change in programmes.

“My view is that the leadership has to take responsibility for the disaster. Prakash Karat is holding the topmost post. The needle of responsibility obviously is pointed at him. And I have already said the leadership should consider quitting if its conscience permits,” said the veteran leader.

His comments come two days after he described Karat as a “narcissist” and said he should resign owning up responsibility for the poll debacle.

Chatterjee said the party needed to introspect why people have turned away from it. “There are a lot of good men in the party who have been serving it honestly, sincerely and ably for years. But these same people are now losing by thousands of votes.

“I am sure they will also now try to zero in on the causes. The party now needs a responsible and able leadership,” he said.

Chatterjee disclosed that he had given a counter argument when the CPI-M leadership wanted to withdraw support from the United Progressive Alliance government on the nuclear deal issue last year.

“Had the Samajwadi Party not come out in support of the government, it would have fallen. And then the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would have been called upon to from the government. Was that desirable for the party? We gave outside support to the UPA only to keep the BJP out,” said the outgoing MP from Bolpur.

Chatterjee said the withdrawal of support to the UPA was one of the reasons for the debacle of the Left.

“My view is that we could have continued supporting the government by boycotting the deal. The withdrawal of support has led to a situation where the Left parties have lost their relevance,” he said.

Chatterjee also berated Karat for choosing parties like Telugu Desam Party, AIADMK, Janata Dal-Secular and Bahujan Samaj Party as partners of the Third Front. “All of them have supped with the BJP at some point of time. I believe the efforts to cobble up a Third Front was a suicidal step”.

On a personal note, Chatterjee said it had been his proud wish to die as an ordinary member of the CPI-M. “This pride has been snatched from me”.

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