Somnath likely to address CPI-M election meeting

Siliguri (WB): In a bid to counter anti-incumbency, the ruling CPI-M in West Bengal is likely to get expelled party leader Somnath Chatterjee to address an election rally.

West Bengal Housing Minister Goutam Deb told reporters here on Thursday that Chatterjee would address a rally on April 24 at Dum Dum constituency near the city.

When contacted, Chatterjee told PTI, "It should be considered as a personal request only. I have told Deb that if doctors allow me, I can attend the meet."

He also made it clear that Deb`s invitation should not be seen as any indication that he was rejoining the CPI-M.

Deb said that efforts were also on to persuade economist and former state finance minister Ashok Mitra to address the rally.

Contesting AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi`s statement today at a rally in north Bengal that there were 80 per cent school dropouts in West Bengal, Deb said reports on the other hand spoke just the opposite.

"The dropout rate was in fact declining and this was confirmed by Pratichi trust of economist Amartya Sen."

Deb said his party was keeping a track of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee`s helicopter rides to address election meetings which, he claimed, went against election codes.