Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was expelled from the Communist Party of India - Marxist in the wake of the Left Front's withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance government, on Wednesday said the party will get 'reduced number' of seats this time but will play an 'important role' after the polls.
However, he parried questions on whether he will rejoin the CPI-M. "The important thing is that nobody is ignoring the Left. It will play an important role in Indian politics. The Left has to be at the forefront and I hope it plays a proper role," Chatterjee told reporters after casting his vote in Kolkata.
"It will be a reduced number unfortunately but it will no doubt play an important role in Indian politics. Their importance is that nobody is ignoring the Left. Please consider this," he said.
Asked whether he would rejoin the CPI-M and whether West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was in touch with him in this regard, Chatterjee said," I do not know. I have not had any talk (with Bhattacharjee) about going back or coming."
The veteran communist leader reiterated, "I did not leave the party on my own. The party felt in its wisdom that I am not fit to be in the party and I have accepted their verdict. I never challenged it. I said I have my own conscience."
To a query on whether he is willing to join his former party, Chatterjee quipped "my willingness does not matter."
To a question on the possible Congess-Left alliance, he said, "I have no forum to express that as I am not in the party now. I have to speak outside and why should I do that? I am an outsider now."