Karat should step down: Chatterjee


New Delhi : Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat should consider quitting the post owning responsibility for the party’s dismal show in the Lok Sabha polls, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was last year expelled from the party, said here Saturday.

Support TwoCircles

“I can’t advise him (Karat) because I am no longer in the party, but if his conscience permits he should consider (resigning),” said Chatterjee.

He said “narcissistic leadership” of Karat and others would not help its restoration in West Bengal, the party stronghold where it has fared poorly in the Lok Sabha polls.

“The party is not stronger under him (Karat),” Chatterjee told reporters. “Are you (the leadership) taking a stand that is relevant today in Indian politics,” he asked.

Chatterjee, one of the most experienced parliamentarians, was expelled from the party after he refused to heed the party diktat and step down as speaker ahead of the July 2008 trust vote in the Lok Sabha over the India-US nuclear deal.

Post-delimitation, his Bolpur constituency in West Bengal became a reserved seat and he did not contest Lok Sabha elections this time. He had expressed his wish to return to the CPI-M two days ago, but the party ruled out taking him back in the fold.

Chatterjee also said someone must take the responsibility for the party’s rout and added that the party had never faced such a “serious situation”.

In West Bengal, giving the CPI-M-led Left Front its worst jolt during its 32-year rule, the Trinamool Congress won 19, its alliance partner Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) one and the Congress six of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.

In Kerala too, the party suffered huge losses as it could win just four of the state’s 20 seats – down from 19 in 2004.