CPI(M) expels Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee from primary membership

Banerjee had in an interview on September 11, hit out at his own party members.

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CPI(M) expels Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee from primary membership
Ritabrata Banerjee

On Friday, CPI(M) announced that they were expelling RS MP Ritabrata Banerjee from being a primary member of the party. They claimed that in an interview on 11 September, Ritabrata Banerjee had tried to publicly malign the party and that was the reason they were expelling him.

Earlier, Banerjee had claimed he was a victim of ‘jealously in the party’.  Banerjee had been reprimanded and warned within the party openly in February for breaking the discipline of the party. Later following several other serious allegations party had suspended him for three months on June 2. ‘A three-member committee was formed to probe into the allegations against Banerjee. He had been given an opportunity to defend himself. The commission in its report had held him guilty’, the statement read. It also said that he had been asked to mend his ways but Banerjee didnt. On August 7 he was expelled from the party’s state committee. His case was brought in the notice of the central committee of the party and disciplinary action was awaited when he gave the interview to the private news channel.

Banerjee’s expulsion has sent speculations afoot about his joining either TMC or BJP because he had, sources said, offers from both the parties. While TMC leaders didnt want to comment on the issue, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha, talking to DNA said, “Banerjee has to decide what he wants to do now. If he intends to join BJP he should spell it out in clear terms and then we will consider the case.”

He had told a Bengali channel: “It was my fate to become a party MP and that too become very much vocal and active in the Parliament. Had I been dumb in the Parliament and not active as I had been, I would not have to face this fate.”

"I am a victim of jealousy by some of my party leaders who were always busy to heckle me or malign me. They somehow convinced the party headquarter to take a decision against me," the CPI(M) youth leader said.

Asked about his course of action if he is expelled by CPI(M) following this interview, he said, "Let my party take its decision first, my decision will come later."

On speculation that he is hobnobbing with BJP and Trinamool Congress leaders like Arun Jaitley, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, TMC leaders Mukul Roy and Subrata Bakshi, he said, "Time will tell about my future plan."

He also refused to say if he would resign as an MP in case he is expelled from CPI(M).

Banerjee was suspended for three months by the party in June for his alleged luxurious lifestyle.

Bengal CPI(M) removed him from the state committee last month following a report of a party commission headed by Md Salim that found him guilty of leaking information to the media and enemy camp as well as for having a lavish lifestyle.

Banerjee said, "I can't forget the judgement of the Kangaroo Court which found me guilty. The commission was set up three months after my suspension by the party. I was punished before the judgement. It was nothing but revenge against me, as on occasions I spoke the truth." To a question, Banerjee hinted at filing cases against some of the leaders in the party, if required.

"I have secretly recorded the proceedings of the commission on three days and that is why I can give this interview here," he said.

Banerjee, however, did not blame everyone in his party for this and said it was a majority decision that went against him, as was the case of Jyoti Basu's candidature for PM's post or disallowing party General Secretary Sitaram Yechury to become MP for another term.

He alleged that senior leader Md Salim, and his son were spreading canards against him with some purpose or vested interest. However, he said, leaders like Goutam Deb and Sujan Chakraborty were in his favour.

On former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who was regarded as his mentor but did not say anything about him at this juncture, Banerjee described him as the biggest mass leader of his party in the state.

Banerjee denied he ever submitted inflated air fare bills as alleged against him saying that he was a member of five parliamentary committees and for that he had to travel a lot.

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