CPM wants Somnath to campaign

Chatterjee who had gone on record early last week saying he might reconsider joining the CPM as the “association is too deep to be ignored”, did not say either “yes” or “no” to a plethora of requests from some of his former colleagues.

Housing Minister Gautam Deb was the first one to break his silence on Thursday claiming that he has personally approached the former LS speaker to address a rally in his constituency at Dum Dum.

However, Chatterjee has not categorically spelt his mind. “For the last few days, Gautam has been requesting me to address an election rally in his constituency. He wants me to go there on April 24,” Chatterjee said over phone from his residence at Shantiniketan.

“I haven’t taken any final decision. April 24 is still 10 days away. I have not given him my word yet.”

When pressed to elaborate, he conceded that ties with the party (CPM) “are too thick to be ignored, but there are issues too which will have to be taken into account.” By other issues, he must have meant a sort of honourable rehabilitation of a stalwart like him.
“I’ll take a decision later. I am not keeping well. Let’s see how things shape up in the coming days,” said Chatterjee.

The former speaker was expelled from the party in mid-2008 for presiding over the trust vote in defiance of the party’s diktat that he ought to quit the speaker’s post after the CPM withdrew support to the Manmohan Singh government over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Asked whether Chatterjee would face any hurdle for reinduction into the party, Deb claimed that there is no rule whatsoever preventing an expelled person from rejoining the party. “He will be most welcome,” Deb said.

The minister, however, said Chatterjee has given his word that he would be present at the rally as the main speaker if “his health permits.”

“It will be the last big meeting of the Left Front in the constituency ahead of the polls,” said Deb who has been locked in a bitter fight against Trinamool Congress nominee and theatre personality Bratya Basu at Dum Dum.

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