Somnath welcome to campaign for Left Front: Karat

Kolkata: The CPI(M) on Thursday said the party’s expelled leader and former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee was welcome to campaign for the Left Front in the West Bengal Assembly elections.

“Somnath Chatterjee, Dr Ashok Mitra are welcome. Anybody who wants to extend support to Left Front are welcome. We have taken a clear stand,” CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat told reporters here when asked about Mr. Chatterjee campaigning for the party in the Assembly poll.

Mr. Chatterjee had been expelled from the party in 2008 on the ground of ‘seriously compromising’ its position after the UPA-I government won the trust vote in the Parliament following withdrawal of support by the Left parties during the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal.

CPI (M) candidate and Housing Minister Gautam Deb had earlier stated that Mr. Chatterjee and economist Dr. Ashok Mitra would campaign in the Dum Dum constituency from where he was contesting.

Mr. Chatterjee had confirmed that he would campaign for Mr. Deb if permitted by doctors.

Mr. Chatterjee was also a signatory to a leaflet appealing to people to help in forming an eight consecutive Left Front government in the state.

The leaflet, which was distributed in Bolpur, where he resides, highlighted the success of the Left Front government and criticised the ‘whimsical activities’ of Mamata Banerjee as the Railway Minister.