SOMNATH Chatterjee, Ex-Lok Sabha Speaker, Dies At The Age Of 89

SOMNATH Chatterjee, Lok Sabha Speaker for five years from 2004 and ten –term Parliamentarian from Bengal, has died aged 89 following a cardiac arrest in a Kolkata hospital. A Bar-at-law turned Marxist was close to Communist veterans like Jyoti Basu and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. It is  said proposed by Sonia Gandhi he was appointed the Lok Sabha Speaker during UPA’s first innings but he had incurred the wrath of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) .He defied  the  dictate  of his  party  to quit and  remained as the  presiding  officer till  the new  Lok Sabha  was constituted. After retirement as Speaker, he had not rejoined politics. Nor had he prayed to his erstwhile party to induct him again. Somnathda as he was called by his followers was a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for 40 years since 1968.He was acknowledged as one of its most brilliant ever. He may have owed his oratorical skills to his training in England where, after a Masters in Law from Cambridge University, he was called to the bar from Middle Temple in London. He lost only one election in his parliamentary career to Mamata Banerjee from the Jadavpur in South Kolkata in 1984. President of India Ram Nath Kovind, his predecessor Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee are among the galaxy of India’s national leaders who have mourned his passing away .Born in Assam’s Tezpur, he is survived by his wife, one daughter and one son. His father, Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee, was a prominent lawyer, intellectual, and Hindu revivalist and nationalist and mother Binapani Debi was a housewife. Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee was one of the founders and one-time president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha. In 1948, when the Communist Party of India was banned by then Congress government and its party leaders were put behind the bars, Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee formed the All India Civil Liberties’ Union and agitated for their release. In the process, he came close to Jyoti Basu, in spite of continuing ideological political differences between the two leaders, says Wikipedia.

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