India mourns the demise of Somnath Chatterjee
: Mon, 13 Aug 2018 21:07, by: NDM Wire

Ten times member of parliament and the former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee passed away on Monday morning at the age of 89. He was being treated for kidney-related ailments for quite some time now.

With the passing of such a distinguished politician, who once won the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 1996 and was aneminent member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian politics certainly has lost one of its staunch supporters of democratic values.

Probably, the only chapter in his life, which was much talked about and eventually forced him to move away from politics, is his expulsion from CPM in relation to the UPA I and CPM conflict of opinions on Indo-US nuclear deal in 2008.

Somnath Chatterjee was asked to resign from the speaker’s post with the exist of CPM support to the UPA I government led by the then PM Manmohan Singh, but he did not resign saying that as the Lok Sabha speaker – he was above any party politics.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau, the highest decision-making body finally expelled Chatterjee for going against the partyline. He, however, continued in the Speaker’s post till the end of his term.

In response to the decision, he termed this as the saddest day of his life, as he served the party for more than four decades since 1968, when he had joined the party.

Later it was also in news that he might come back to the party when Sitaram Yechury was elevated within the CPM in 2015. However, as per reports, he denied Yechury’s effort in bringing him back to party. Mr. Chatterjee in an interview, had told that he had done nothing to be expelled in the first place, at the same time he also had made no effort to go back.

Nevertheless, with his demise, leaders from across the political parties have expressed their sadness withcondolencemessages.

President Ram Nath Kovind says Chatterjee had a "forceful presence in the House" and “a loss for public life in Bengal and India.”

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls him "a stalwart of Indian politics who made our Parliamentary democracy richer and was a strong voice for the well-being of the poor and vulnerable."

Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “He was an institution. Greatly respected and admired by all parliamentarians, across party lines.”

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) in a press release has expressed grief and sorrow by stating that Somnath Chatterjee played an important role in defending the secular, democratic foundations of our Constitution.

-- Sangita Roy