PM meets Somnath; Karat, Biman justify expulsion

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New Delhi/Hyderabad, Jul 24 (UNI) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today looked quite cheerful after his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Dr Singh had called on Mr Chatterjee at his official residence early this morning and they were together without any aide for nearly 20 minutes.

In his first reaction after the Polit Bureau expelled the veteran Marxist leader, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat termed the decision ''unfortunate'' while justifying it saying the party was left with ''no option but to expel him''.

Talking to newspersons in Hyderabad, he remarked, ''While it is for Mr Chatterjee to decide whether to continue as Speaker, it is for the party to decide whether he should continue in the party.'' The CPI(M) nominated Mr Chatterjee as the Speaker at the request of the UPA while it supplied outside support to the latter. However, the Central committee was of the considered opinion that he should not continue in the high office after the Left's withdrawal of support, Mr Karat said.

Replying to a question, Mr Karat said Mr Chatterjee could appeal to the party for reconsidering the decision taken by the Polit Bureau.

CPI(M) state secretary Biman Bose after attending a meeting in Purulia told the media that Mr Chatterjee was asked to resign from the Speaker's post when the Party withdrew its support from the government.

''He did not listen to it,'' he said, while adding that the decision to expel him was executed yesterday.

UNI TEAM AKJ KN1919

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