Somnath Chatterjee is no more. The former Lok Sabha Speaker and expelled member of the CPM died around 8 am today at a hospital in Kolkata. He had been in and out of hospital since June-end after suffering a stroke. Chatterjee had celebrated his 89th birthday on July 29.
Lok Sabha Speaker from 2004 to 2009, Chatterjee was a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) for 40 years since 1968, represented the party 10 times in parliament, and was acknowledged as one of its most brilliant ever.
He may have owed his oratorical skills to his training in England where, after a Masters in Law from Cambridge University, he was called to the bar from Middle Temple in London.
He lost only one election in his lifetime — to Mamata Banerjee from the Jadavpur constituency in 1984. In 2008, when the CPM withdrew support to the UPA-1 government, the party ordered Chatterjee to step down from the post of Lok Sabha Speaker so he could vote against the government.