Kolkata: Contrary to the party politburo, the CPI-M West Bengal state committee paid tributes to veteran Communist leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who died here on Monday, detailing his long association with the party and addressing him as “comrade” on four occasions.
Refering to the veteran leader as a former party central committee member, the state committee in a condolence resolution traced “Comrade” Chatterjee’s three and a half decade-long parliamentary career as a party MP, lauding him as a “parliamentarian of unmatched ability”.
“The CPI-M state committee meeting has condoled the death of former party central committee member and eminent parliamentarian Somnath Chatterjee,” the resolution read.
Describing Chatterjee as an eminent lawyer, the resolution said: “He was a parliamentarian of unmatched ability. Many of his speeches in the Lok Sabha are regarded as exemplary.”
The statement noted that Chatterjee served as Lok Sabha Speaker from 2004 to 2009, but avoided any reference to his expulsion from the party in 2008.
However, it pointed out that even afterwards, “comrade” Chatterjee had continued to join forces with the Leftists in raising his voice for democracy, secularism and human rights.
“He was specially vocal about the attack on democracy in this state. Very recently he strongly criticised the snatching of democratic rights during the panchayat election.
“The state committee pays its respect to the memory of Comrade Somnath Chatterjee, an orator and a charming personality,” it added.
Hours before the state committee resolution, the CPI-M politburo had issued a brief condolence message that conspicuously avoided any reference to Chatterjee’s long association with the party. It also did not address him even once as “comrade”.