Tuesday’s CPM state committee meeting will decide the fate of its Rajya Sabha member Ritabrata Banerjee, accused of leading a “lavish lifestyle not in line with the party’s ideology” and allegedly leaking party affairs to the media. This follows a discussion on the issue on Monday, the first day of the the two-day meeting. The party is divided over whether to expel him or drop him form the state committee.
“The final decision will be taken tomorrow. If needed, then voting will be held to reach a conclusion,” said a senior party leader on condition of anonymity. “If a decision is taken by the state committee then it will be forwarded to the Politburo, and then it will be forwarded to the central committee for approval. So all is not lost for him at the moment.” Banerjee has been at the centre of a storm after a CPM worker complained to the party of the MP allegedly trying to influence his company after he published a comment on social media about the leader’s “lavish lifestyle”.
A three-member committee headed by CPM MP Mohammad Salim looked into the allegations, including that of leaking information to the media. Sources said the committee had prima facie found some evidence against Banerjee.
According to a senior party leader, state committee members were divided as many considered him a fine speaker in Parliament and that removing him at this crucial juncture might not be a good idea for the Opposition. Others, however, debated that the party’s image must be protected at any cost.
Meanwhile, the party’s Burdwan unit submitted a report in the state committee and criticised senior party leader Gautam Deb for speaking in public against the party’s decision not to nominate CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury for the Rajya Sabha election. Speaking to a Bengali television news channel, the senior party leader had openly criticised the party’s central leadership for not nominating Yechury for the Rajya Sabha election.