Facing criticism following repeated poll defeats, West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee got support from former Lok Sabah Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who opined that the chief minister did not need to resign.
“I do not think the present chief minister should retire. It is for the people to give their verdict and I am sure they will give their verdict, but at the appointed time. There is no question of abrupt or forcible termination of the five year tenure,” Chatterjee said.
He was responding to a query about demands by the Trinamool Congress that Bhattacharjee should step down as he has lost the mandate of the people
Chattarchee didn’t think that the chief minister had lost the people’s mandate and that he should quit on moral grounds.
“He should continue to govern in a proper manner inspite of debacles and see that West Bengal progresses,” said Chatterjee.
Chatterjee, 80, who was expelled from the CPM in July 2008 when he refused to step down as Lok Sabha Speaker after the party withdrew support from the UPA government over Indo-US nuke deal, rapped party’s central leadership for party’s ‘losing relevance’ as apparent from party’s repeated electoral debacles.
“It is an agonising situation today that the Left has lost its relevance in the Indian political scene. It is clear that the support base of the Left has considerably shrunk,” he said.
“It is to be seen whether the action of the central leadership of withdrawal of support to the UPA government on the plea of the nuclear deal in 2008, has directly affected the people’s perception of the relevance of the Left parties in Indian politics,” Chatterjee said.
“They withdrew support to the government on the plea of the nuclear deal and wanted to form a Third Front all of which fizzled out,” he said.
About reports of a section of CPM willing to take back in the party, he said that Chatterjee said he was told by a state committee member that he had raised this at a recent party meeting.
“I never left the party. The party felt that I was not a suitable person to continue as a member,” Chatterjee said.
“At the moment there is no possibility of my return to the party. I wish to make it very clear that I shall never apply to them, never write to them and never appeal to them,” Chatterjee said.
Asked if he would return to the party if it needed him, he said, “This is a speculative question. I do not wish to respond.”
Referring to the Left’s defeat in a series of elections from the Lok Sabha to the assembly bypolls to student union elections in the state, he said, “It is for the leaders of the left parties and the workers to introspect whether there has been anything lacking in the administration or the governance or whether it is due to the policies and programmes of the party.”