Somnath Chatterjee campaigns for CPI-M

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Saturday campaigned for the candidates of CPI(M), which had expelled him about three years ago, in West Bengal assembly elections.

Updated: Apr 23, 2011, 23:27 PM IST

Kolkata: Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath
Chatterjee on Saturday campaigned for the candidates of CPI(M),
which had expelled him about three years ago, in West
Bengal assembly elections.

Initially spurned by the party, Chatterjee had agreed to
campaign for the ongoing poll after CPI(M) general secretary
Prakash Karat said whosoever wanted to support the Left Front
was welcome.
CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury had also said
recently that Chatterjee could campaign for the party which
is facing its toughest battle from Trinamool Congress-Congress
alliance this time in its 35 year rule in the state.

"I am not in the party. But I have no regrets about that.
I want to see the eighth Left Front in power in West Bengal,"
Chatterjee said addressing a poll rally at Ballygunge

"If someone says nothing has been done in 34 years of
Left Front rule, it amounts to insulting the people who have
elected the Front for seven consecutive terms creating
history ... The Left Front had committed some mistakes but
they were correcting it. Mistakes may take place while one is
at his job," he said campaigning for CPI-M candidate Fuad

He said that in 2001 a similar campaign was made against
the Left Front that it was finished. But voters overwhelmingly
supported Left Front in that election.
If the Left Front wins it is said that they had resorted
to scientific rigging, Chatterjee said adding "but now the
Election Commission is very strict."

"If people really want a change, there will be change
and that is democracy," he said and criticised a section of
the media "which had unleashed a wave of false propaganda
against the LF".

Chatterjee alleged Trinamool Congress-Congress alliance
was devoid of principle and did not have any common minimum
programme. "Their only aim is to remove the Left Front."

Turning to Left oppostion SUCI, a TC ally, which has
fielded candidates against Congress, he said "what kind of
alliance is it ?"

Referring to the abandoned Nano car factory project at
Singur, he said had it materialised it would have provided job
opportunities to 10,000 people. "Whose interest was served
with the removal of the Tatas from the Singur project?"

He also campaigned at neighbouring Kasba constituency
where Satarap Ghosh of CPI-M, the youngest candidate, is in
the fray.

Tomorrow, Chatterjee is scheduled to address a campaign
rally at Dum Dum where party heavy weight Gautam Deb is a

Somnath questions PM`s statement

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath
Chatterjee today questioned Prime minister Manmohan Singh`s
statement about `deterioration` of the standard of education
in Bengal, and said the literacy rate was higher than that of
the national average.
The expelled CPI(M) leader, who hit the campaign trail
for his erstwhile party this evening at Ballygunge, said "I
have good relations with the Prime minister. I respect him.
But I am hurt and surprised at his comment on education in the

He said the recent census report mentioned that
national average of literacy rate was 74 per cent, while that
of West Bengal was 77.08 per cent.

"In women`s education, the national average is 65.5
per cent, but in West Bengal it is 71.16 per cent," he said.
Chatterjee said if the standard of education was poor
in the state, "I wonder how these figures were achieved?"

Chatterjee also said that law and order was definitely
good in West Bengal otherwise why should people from other
states come there. "There is no anarchy."

He said that high rate of population in West Bengal
was an indicator that peace prevailed in the state.

The Prime minister at his Dum Dum joint election rally
with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee said that the
literacy rate in smaller states like Manipur and Nagaland was
higher than West Bengal.