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Somnath on dais? Stay away

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By BARUN GHOSH
  • Published 29.07.10
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Calcutta, July 28: The invite has been sent, the hoardings stare down at people from several corners of the city.

But the organisers of a memorial meet on Subhas Chakraborty are in a fix with senior politburo and central committee members today suggesting that the CPM state unit should not share the stage with Somnath Chatterjee after the expelled leader’s “harsh comments” on Prakash Karat.

The Subhas Chakraborty Foundation, which is organising the programme on August 3, has already sent an invite to the former Lok Sabha Speaker requesting him to preside over the event.

Chakraborty’s widow Ramala and Tarit Topdar, the former CPM MP from Barrackpore, are the main organisers of the event. It will be held at Netaji Indoor Stadium on the occasion of the first death anniversary of the former state transport minister.

Politburo member M.K. Pandhe today told The Telegraph over the phone from Delhi: “I am of the opinion that no party functionary or member should attend any programme where Chatterjee is supposed to be present. He has called the party general secretary (Karat) arrogant. Such a harsh comment about the party chief has to be condemned.”

Hannan Mollah, a CPM central committee member from Bengal, sounded more critical of Chatterjee than Pandhe. “Chatterjee had been expelled for going against the party line. On top of that, he has torn into our party boss in his forthcoming book (Memoirs of a Parliamentarian). Party members who will have any kind of association with him should be brought to book,” he said.

With senior party functionaries frowning on any kind of links with the expelled leader, the organisers of the August 3 event are in a dilemma.

“I had sent the invite to Somnathda long time ago. But now, with the controversy over his book, I will have to discuss with my party leaders what to do,” Ramala said today. She parried questions on whether the invite to Chatterjee would be withdrawn.

Topdar, however, said he would attend the programme. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and CPM state secretary Biman Bose have also been invited.

Chatterjee said he would be present. “I have extended my stay in Calcutta till August 4 to attend Subhas’s death anniversary programme,” he said. He added that the CPM had “unnecessarily abused me for telling the truth about the party and the person at its helm”.