Birbhum: Putting behind the
bitterness over his expulsion from CPI(M), at least for now,
former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee plans to campaign for the
party in the Assembly elections as he still feels he is a
He attacks Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee
charging it with "harping on change" but not giving any
clarification on what their agenda was.
Coming out to bat for his former party at an election
meeting tomorrow, Chatterjee`s gesture to his former party
comes even as CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has said
that leaders like Chatterjee and noted economist Dr Ashok
Mitra were "welcome" to campaign for the Left parties in West
In an interview, Chatterjee said, "I have
just agreed to attend a meeting at the request of (Bengal
Housing Minister) Gautam Deb. He had approached me to speak
for him before the people and I accepted his invitation...
"If you call it campaigning, then yes I am
campaigning. I have done it on individual capacity. There is
one meeting on 24th, if health permits I will attend it".
The 82-year old veteran Parliamentarian said he had
signed "4-5 appeals to people asking them to vote for Left
Front candidates. They wanted my support and I gave them".
Maintaining that he was away from politics "on my own
volition", he asserted "I am a still Marxist".
"I never differed with the Marxist ideology. I still
stand by what I believe in and have believed over the years. I
never change my stand like the others ... I have not changed
parties nor sides. But, yes I had a problem with a section of
the CPI (M) and I have said it earlier, but as far as my
ideology goes, I am still a Marxist".
Chatterjee was expelled from CPI(M) in July 2008 as he
did not follow the party line to vote against the government
in the crucial confidence vote on the issue of Indo-US nuclear
deal, as he felt that voting against the UPA coalition would
mean voting alongside the right-wing opposition BJP.
Asked about the opinion polls which have portrayed the
Left Front`s chances as bleak, he said, "The people of Bengal
were aware of their rights. You cannot fool them. The votes
will show the final result".
Exuding confidence that Left would return to power,
he said, "At least, we have some ideology to fight for, some
agenda...what have they (Trinamool Congress) got? Can you tell
me what their agenda is? You think people don`t understand all
this... They are harping on change, change...But how? Have
they said how? And what for?"
When pointed out that Trinamool was talking of
industrialisation, development and that investors were waiting
to invest in Bengal if the new rule comes, Chatterjee said,
"Nonsense. Everyone knows how such an important project
(Tata`s Nano) was driven out of Bengal. Who is she trying to
fool? They have no agenda".
On being asked if his campaigning for Left candidates
which has got the support of senior CPI(M) leaders signalled a
comeback for him, he said he has "not applied his mind".
"I am not well and am enjoying my retirement here in
this reserved forest...It is not that I did not have offers. I
did have option to join other parties. I was also offered some
assignments. But I did not accept them. I have not applied my
mind to it. Right now I am engaged in other kind of work like
development of the adivasis in this area. I am connected with
a girls` college here," he said.
Chatterjee also applauded Lok Sabha Speaker Meira
Kumar for her work, saying though it would be "unfair for me
to comment on her work. But yes, she is doing a commendable
job as the Speaker. It is not an easy job, but she is doing it