Days after sharing stage with recently appointed CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, former Lok Sabha Speaker and expelled CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee on Tuesday brushed aside any possibility of re-joining the party. Earlier, he had said he “will consider to rejoin the party if I am approached properly by the party leadership”.
“Yes, I had said earlier that I might consider joining the CPM. But I had not said that I was about to join the party anytime soon. At the moment, there is no such possibility. I have my personal reasons for saying so and besides, my health condition too is not very good,” Chatterjee said on Tuesday.
Asked if he will be a part of CPM events in the future, he said: “That will depend on what the kind of programme.”
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Nearly seven years after he was expelled from the CPM, Chatterjee had shared stage with Yechury during a function to mark the conclusion of former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu’s birth centenary in Kolkata on July 8. Chatterjee was expelled in 2008 after he refused to follow the party diktat to step down as the Lok Sabha Speaker when the Congress led UPA-II government signed the nuclear deal with the US.
The invitation to Chatterjee had come at a time when a large section of party leaders in Bengal had raised the demand to re-induct the 10-time MP into CPM. The issue was also raised during the CPM’s state conference recently in the presence of former party general secretary Prakash Karat, who had allegedly played a key role in Chatterjee’s expulsion in July 2008.
Claiming that there had been unsuccessful talks between party leaders and Chatterjee, a senior CPM state committee member said: “Though there was no discussions about it in the party’s state committee meeting, I have heard that the matter a senior leader of the party had taken up the matter with Chatterjee.
Following this, it has been decided that Chatterjee will not formally join the party but be part of party programmes, which suit him.”
Early this month, Yechury had visited Chatterjee’s Bolpur residence. “Somnath Babu is very active. He has campaigned for party candidates. The formality for his membership in the party should not be a big issue,” Yechury had said.