With Lok Sabha elections round the corner,a sizeable section of the CPMs top leadership in Bengal has begun pitching for Somnath Chatterjee to be brought back to the party fold. CPM leader and state Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Subhas Chakrabortys confidential letter to Biman Bose,the partys West Bengal state secretary,emphasising the need to reinstate Chatterjee has brought matters to a head.
The letter sent to Bose last week hails Chatterjees indispensibility in national politics and goes on to stress his credentials as a veteran parliamentarian and a legal expert as an asset to the party.
The letter also highlights that Chatterjee had refrained from criticising the party publicly or indulging in anti-party activities after his expulsion.
The Speaker also attended several functions sponsored by the state government and party forums , the letter mentioned.
News of the letter sparked off a sensation in the partys top ranks at Alimuddin street with highly placed party sources claiming that it prompted hitherto silent party members who favoured Chatterjees reinstatement to speak out openly.
I have heard about the letter. But I am yet to see it, confirmed party state secretary Biman Bose,while speaking to The Indian Express. Party sources revealed that the letter and the subsequent pressure have put the three Politburo members,Biman Bose,Buddadeb Bhattacharjee and Nirupam Sen in a tight spot due to Prakash Karats inflexible views on the matter.
It is difficult for Bengal leaders to put forward the letter formally in the Politburo. This is because party general secretary Prakash Karat,who was instrumental in the expulsion of Chatterjee in July 2008 is still against such an idea, said a veteran party leader.
CPM had expelled Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee from the party in July last year on the ground of seriously compromising the position of the party. The decision
was taken in a politburo where leaders of Bengal were conspicuous by their absence.
At the time of expulsion too,it was Subhas Chakraborty who had publicly criticised the decision and stood by Somnath Chatterjee. Following this Prakash Karat had forced the Bengal unit of the party to censure Chakraborty on this issue. Chakraborty has clearly not given up his fight for Somnath. I will not discuss with the media the contents of the letter I sent, said Chakraborty to The Indian Express.
According to party sources,Chakraborty is not the only leader who has raised the issue. He is the Bengal CPI(M)s face in Delhi. The expulsion has already done damage to the party but it is time he should be taken back, said a senior CPM MP.