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Former LS Speaker Somnath Chatterjee dead

Former LS Speaker Somnath Chatterjee dead
Lt Somnath Chatterjee
KOLKATA, AUG 13 (IANS) | Publish Date: 8/13/2018 12:19:21 PM IST

Former Lok Sabha Speaker and eminent barrister Somnath Chatterjee died here on Monday at a private clinic following a cardiac arrest and prolonged old-age-related illness, nursing home sources said. He was 89, and leaves behind his wife, a daughter and a son.

Chatterjee’s condition turned grave following a heart attack he suffered on Sunday. On August 7, he was admitted to the clinic in a critical condition due to a kidney-related ailment and put on ventilator support.

A former CPI-M leader and a 10-time Lok Sabha MP, Chatterjee was the Speaker of the lower House during the first UPA rule from 2004 to 2009. Known for his debating skills, Chatterjee was given the “Outstanding Parliamentarian Award” in 1996.

Chatterjee joined the CPI-M in 1968, and was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1971 from Burdwan constituency in a by-election as an independent candidate backed by the CPI-M.

He made it to the Lok Sabha on a CPI-M ticket from Jadavpur in 1977 and 1980, but lost to Mamata Banerjee -- the present West Bengal Chief Minister and then a youth Congress leader -- in 1984. 

However, the very next year, he re-entered the Lok Sabha after the party nominated him as its candidate from Bolpur in a by-election. He retained the seat in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004. From 1989 till 2004, he served as the Leader of the CPI(M) in Lok Sabha.

Chattterjee rose to become a central committee member of the Left party, but was expelled on July 23, 2008, “for seriously compromising the position of the party” as he refused to resign as the Speaker after the CPI-M withdrew its support to the UPA-1 government over the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal.

Chatterjee’s family on Monday turned down CPI-M leadership’s request to drape the expelled member’s body in a red flag.

Born on July 25, 1929 in Tezpur in Assam, Chatterjee studied at the Mitra Institution School, Presidency College and the University of Calcutta. 

 

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