Somnath Chatterjee campaigns for CPI-M
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Last Updated: Saturday, April 23, 2011, 23:27
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 constituency.

"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 Halim.

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 contestant.

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 state."

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.


First Published: Saturday, April 23, 2011, 23:27

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