Somnath Chatterjee has always been a leader of Communist Party of India (CPI-M) except for the last few years of his life when he was expelled from his party after refusing to resign from the position of Lok Sabha speaker. He was the speaker of Lok Sabha from the year 2004 to 2009. He inherited the Communist ideology from his father Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee who was one of the founders and one-time president of the Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha.
Chatterjee was nominated to contest an interim election after his father’s demise in 1971 and became the Member of Lok Sabha from the same constituency where Nirmal Chandra was elected. Thereafter he continued to win for the next nine times, except for once in 1984 when he was defeated by Mamata Banerjee in the Jadavpur Lak Sabha. He also won an outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 1996.
The Price he paid for the position of Lok Sabha Speaker
Sticking strong to his ideologies, this veteran tried to break the trend of taking or following decisions that revolve only around the party’s interest. In his attempt to prove that the integrity of a Speaker’s independent eminence should not be traded off, he lost almost everything in his political career. He endeavoured to manifest that being a Lok Sabha Speaker, he is above party politics but alas he had to pay a great deal for it.
During 2008 when the Communist Party of India (Marxist) pulled off its support from the UPA government, he was asked to step down from the position of the Lok Sabha Speaker. He then refused to step down following which; he was expelled from the party. This made the veteran really sad. He called it the saddest day of his life and was also quoted saying…
“I will carry the scar of expulsion on my heart when I die”
No doubt that he lived as a Communist and died as a Communist by heart, there are instances that remained as blots in his political career and he died with them. One of it is when Member of Parliaments were bought over by the Congress to win the vote of confidence on the India-US nuclear deal in the house chaired by him. This incident is famously known as the “cash for vote” scam.