Somnath parts ways with CPI (M) after four decades

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New Delhi, Jul 23 (UNI) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has never been afraid to speak his mind and it is this trait which finally led to his parting of ways with the CPI(M) after a four-decade-long association.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) today expelled him from its primary membership for violating the party line and refusing to quit his post after the party withdrew support to the Manmohan Singh Government on the Indo-US Nuclear Deal earlier this month.

But sources close to Chatterjee said he will not quit his ''apolitical'' chair and the Congress indicated that it is in favour of his continuance in the Speaker's post.

Chatterjee's career took off in 1968 when he joined the CPI (M) as a party member. Three years later, in 1971, the party fielded him from West Bengal's Bolpur constituency in the Lok Sabha.

Since then he remained on a winning spree, returning to the Lok Sabha every five years, 1984 being the sole exception, when he lost the Jadavpur constituency to Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Bannerjee.

On June 4, 2004, he was elected as the 14th Speaker of the Lok Sabha and among other things, introduced the concept of live telecast of Parliamentary proceedings.Chatterjee distinguished himself as a parliamentarian for over three and a half decades and carved a niche for himself as an eloquent speaker and an effective legislator.

Another significant initiative taken by Chatterjee was in respect of the functioning of the Departmentally Related Standing Committees (DRSCs), which provided that the Minister concerned shall, once in six months, make a Statement in the House on the status of implementation of recommendations contained in the Reports of the DRSCs of Lok Sabha with regard to his/ her Ministry.

This had considerably helped in the implementation of the recommendations of the Committees, which are generally unanimous.

Born in Tezpur, in Assam on 25 July 1929 to N C Chatterjee and Binapani Debi, Chatterjee had his education in Calcutta and the United Kingdom.

Before coming to politics, he worked as an advocate, trade unionist and political and social worker.

Barrister-at-Law from Middle Temple in UK, he took his M A from Cambridge. Chatterjee is married to Renu Chatterjee. They have one son and two daughters.

In recognition of his contribution to the strengthening of India's parliamentary system, he was conferred the ''Outstanding Parliamentarian Award'' in 1996.

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