Ritabrata may face the axe

CPI(M) may further shrink in Parliament as the party is mulling disciplinary actions, including expulsion, against Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee for his latest remarks against a section of party leadership.

The West Bengal party Secretariat is meeting on Wednesday to take a “call” on Banerjee’s remarks in a TV interview that included the description of a committee led by Polit Bureau member Mohd Salim to look into allegations against him as a “kangaroo commission”.


Following complaints of a series of misconduct, including his lifestyle, Banerjee, a 38-year-old MP, was put under three month suspension from June 2 pending enquiry. A Commission led by Salim had recommended his demotion to district committee from state committee pending approval from the central leadership.

If party decides to expel Banerjee, its numbers could come down to seven in Rajya Sabha as he can remain in the House as an unattached member. Even if he resigns, the CPI(M) does not have the strength in West Bengal Assembly get its own member elected to the Upper House.

Last month, the party was reduced to eight in the Upper House after General Secretary Sitaram Yechury term ended and was denied a third term though Congress offered support to get him re-elected.

When contacted, a defiant Banerjee told DH that party is not the fiefdom of anyone. Asked if CPI(M) takes any action against him, he said, “I will remain as a Left voicing the demands of the Left. Red, till I die.”

Banerjee has angered the party with his interview to a Bengali channel in which he said he had been victim of jealousy in the party since he was vocal and very active in Parliament.

“I cannot 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,” he was quoted as saying.

On speculation about him hobnobbing with BJP and Trinamool Congress leaders, he said, “Time will tell about my future plan.”

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 13, 2017)

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