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Somnath Chatterjee, a ten-time Lok Sabha MP, was an Indian politician and was associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for most of his life. He was the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009. Chatterjee won the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award in 1996. He was known for his fiscal integrity and was greatly respected and admired by all Parliamentarians across party lines.
Born on 25 July 1929in Tezpur, Assam, Somnath Chatterjee hailed from a respected family. Like his father Nirmal Chandra Chatterjee, he also took up legal profession and was a practising advocate at the Calcutta High Court before joining active politics. He joined politics in 1968 as a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Chatterjee became a Member of the Lok Sabha in 1971, and represented the party 10 times in parliament. He was a central committee member of the CPI(M) and was instrumental in advocating the cause of poor and downtrodden. He was the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009.
Chatterjee was expelled by the CPI(M) for not quitting as Speaker after the party withdrew support from the UPA-I over the Indo-US nuclear deal. A CPI (M) press release said, "The Politburo of the Communist Party of India-Marxist has unanimously decided to expel Somnath Chatterjee from the membership of the party with immediate effect. This action has been taken under Article XIX, clause 13 of the Party Constitution for seriously compromising the position of the party." He had described the expulsion from the party as 'one of the saddest days' of his life.
Somnath Chatterjee represented Bolpur constituency and following his expulsion from the CPI(M), he announced retirement from active politics in 2009. A highly respected leader in his constituency, he had a great following. People of his constituency were very disheartened by the way he was treated by his own party. Though a gentleman to the core, he never spoke ill against his party.
Illness and Death
Somnath Chatterjee breathed his last on Monday(13th August 2018) morning after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was suffering from age-related ailments of heart, lung, and kidney. His death was mourned by many leaders across political lines.
President of India: Sorry to hear of the passing of Shri Somnath Chatterjee, former Speaker of the Lok Sabha and a veteran parliamentarian who had a forceful presence in the House. A loss for public life in Bengal and India. My condolences to his family and innumerable well-wishers #PresidentKovind
Narendra Modi: Former MP and Speaker Shri Somnath Chatterjee was a stalwart of Indian politics. He made our Parliamentary democracy richer and was a strong voice for the well-being of the poor and vulnerable. Anguished by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and supporters.
CPI(M) WEST BENGAL: We expresses our profound grief at the death of a former Loksova Speaker #SomnathChatterjee. #Kolkata
Congress: We are deeply saddened by the passing of Somnath Chatterjee,10 time MP. He was also universally admired for being a tough but fair Lok Sabha speaker. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. #SomnathChatterjee
Rahul Gandhi: I mourn the passing away of Shri Somnath Chatterjee, 10 term MP and former Speaker of the Lok Sabha. He was an institution. Greatly respected and admired by all parliamentarians, across party lines. My condolences to his family at this time of grief. #SomnathChatterjee
Arvind Kejriwal: Extremely sad news about Somnath Chatterjee ji. One of the greatest parliamentarians of contemporary times he will always be missed by this country. He will be remembered among the greatest Lok Sabha Speakers India ever had.
Sushma Swaraj: I am sorry to know about the sad demise of Shri #SomnathChatterjee. In spite of our ideological differences, we cherished a very cordial relationship. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family.
Omar Abdullah: Rest in peace now Somnath da. It was an honour to have known you & to have learnt from you. The Lok Sabha was much the poorer by your absence in recent years. India has lost a parliamentary giant today. #SomnathChatterjee
P. Chidambaram: Saddened to learn of the passing away of former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee ji. Throughout his life he was a democrat, a liberal and a champion of enlarging the constituency for social democracy.
Somnath Chatterjee is survived by his wife Renu Chatterjee, son Pratap and two daughters, Anuradha and Anushila.
(FOLLOWER OF Shri SOMNATH CHATTERJEE)
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