May 20, 2009

Time to introspect: Somnath Chatterjee

20 May 2009, 0457 hrs IST, TNN

KOLKATA: Though senior Left leader Somnath Chatterjee didn't blame any leader for the Left's electoral debacle, he said that it was time for sincere introspection. "There must be some reasons for the poor showing. These have to be identified and corrective measures taken," Chatterjee said, speaking on TV on Tuesday. 

Chatterjee hit out at the CPM leadership on the nuclear deal, which led to his ouster from the party. "How did the party benefit from withdrawing support to the UPA government? They couldn't pull down the government. If elections had happened then would the party have gained? I am clear to my conscience that I did the right thing," said Chatterjee. 

In the past a Basu loyalist, Chatterjee had crossed swords with CPM's central leadership when the CPM patriarch was denied the opportunity to become the Prime Minister in 1996. "It was a monumental error. Joining the government then would have been the correct decision. Most of the leaders from Bengal were against me at that time. I was in a hopeless minority and the party didn't agree," he said. 

Reflecting on the party's poor performance in West Bengal, Chatterjee said errors made by the party had led to this. "At some places, the party has moved away from the people. Some workers may harbour feelings that since we have been in power for so long no one can oppose us. This is a punishment for such thoughts. I believe the state leaders will identify the reasons, take corrective measures and win back supporters," Chatterjee said. 

"The party has weakened wherever they have moved away from the people," he said.

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