Somnath says he has ‘great respect’ for CPI-M leaders

March 4th, 2009 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Somnath ChatterjeeNew Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee Wednesday denied making critical remarks about Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat and said he had “great respect” for leaders of the party.
Responding to reports published in a section of the media, Chatterjee said he never told any journalist that the CPI-M had become a “non-actor” and that the party’s decision to stop supporting the Congress-led government over the India-US nuclear deal was “a big blunder”.

In a statement released in his name, Chatterjee also denied saying that former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu was the only credible leader in the CPI-M.

Insisting that “some different and misleading interpretations” had been given to what he said, the rejoinder said the speaker “has great respect for the leaders of his erstwhile party and has never in any way criticised them earlier or now”.

The statement added that Chatterjee “did not mention anything about the present leadership of the CPI-M”.

Chatterjee was sacked from the CPI-M last year after he refused to step down as the speaker of the Lok Sabha after the Left decided to vote against a confidence motion moved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following differences with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the nuclear deal.

Chatterjee, however, admitted saying that the CPI-M would have to be “more concerned with the apparent diminution of popular support in West Bengal” as evident by its losses in recent by-elections in the state.

“The speaker mentioned his view that since a political party is obviously concerned with rendering service to the people, therefore good theories have to be translated into action for the benefit of the people,” the statement said.

The statement reiterated that Chatterjee had no desire to contest elections any more.

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