Kolkata, Apr 17 : Left Front chairman Biman Bose today said that former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was expelled from CPI(M), was free to campaign for LF candidates, while defending the charges made by CPI(M) leader Gautam Deb against opposition Trinamool Congress and its supremo Mamata Banerjee.
“If anybody takes a suo motu decision to campaign for Left Front, the Front will not create a barrier,” Bose told newspersons after the last Front meeting before the six-phase West Bengal Assembly elections, gets under way tomorrow.
However, when reminded that state Housing minister Gautam Deb had said that he had invited Chatterjee to campaign for him at Dum Dum and thus could not be said to be a suo motu decision, Bose did not give a direct reply, retorting, “Now everybody is harping on Somnath Chatterjee.”
When asked about the CPI(M) leadership's reported remark that ‘he had defected to the ruling class' and expelled him when Chatterjee decided not to vote against a Confidence motion in the Lok Sabha by the UPA government at the Centre to uphold the neutrality of the position of the Speaker in 2008, an angry Bose said “when he was expelled from the party, everybody wrote against us. Now when he decided to campaign, the media is speaking in a different voice.”
“I have serious concern about the media in West Bengal,” the Front chairman said claiming that the media was trying to create unnecessary issues.
Bose also welcomed Deb's invite to former state finance minister and economist Ashok Mitra, who has criticised the party's and the Front government's policies on several occasions, to campaign for him.
Endorsing Gautam Deb's allegations against Trinamool Congress and its leader Mamata Banerjee in a meet-the-press programme organised by Kolkata Press Club yesterday, the Front chairman said, “He has charged that the main opposition party in the state is spending huge amount of money. He has said this on the basis of specific information and figures.”
Asked that considering the serious nature of the allegations, why was the Front not complaining to the Election Commission, Bose said, “We will go to the Commission.”
“The EC should take a close look at the issue,” he said questioning the fundings for use of helicopters by different political parties like the BJP, Congress and even the Trinamool Congress.
He demanded that money spent on the use of helicopters be included in the election expenditure of a contestant by the Commission. PTI