Kolkata: Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat Thursday scoffed at suggestions that the party was forced to allow sacked leader Somnath Chatterjee to campaign in West Bengal's assembly elections and said anybody could canvass for the Left Front if he so desired.
'Please don't draw any interpretation,' Karat told the media here when asked if the CPI-M had been forced to accept the former Lok Sabha speaker - expelled from the party three years back - as a campaigner due to pressure from the West Bengal unit.
'Any personality or person whoever extends his support to the Left Front is welcome to campaign and support the Front,' said Karat, who was said to be instrumental in Chatterjee's expulsion in 2008.
Chatterjee had presided over the Lok Sabha trust vote defying the party diktat to resign from the post after it withdrew support to the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over the India-US nuclear deal.
In his autobiography, Chatterjee made a scathing attack on Karat, calling him 'arrogant' and 'an intolerant man' and blaming his 'disastrous and misguided policies' for weakening the Left in the country after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
But Chatterjee has all along professed his love for the CPI-M, claiming he has never criticized the party 'but only some decisions of the leadership'.
Last week, senior CPI-M minister Gautam Deb called up Chatterjee and requested him to address an election meeting in his constituency Dum Dum in North 24-Parganas district April 24.
Deb said that Chatterjee agreed provided his health permitted.
Chatterjee, who was for long the CPI-M leader in parliament, has issued a signed leaflet with his wife Renu and other eminent persons of Bolpur in Birbhum district urging the electorate to return the Left Front to power.
Bolpur had returned the barrister-cum-politician to the Lok Sabha for seven consecutive terms.
The Left Front, facing what is regarded as its toughest electoral challenge since coming to power in 1977, has fallen back on the old guard to brighten its prospects.
Octogenarian Ashok Mitra, a former state finance minister, addressed a seminar Sunday. He has also given interviews asking people to support the Left candidates.