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By A Newsman

Kolkata, 13 September: CRACKING the whip, CPI-M state secretariat has recommended the expulsion of its Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee from the party over misconduct and breaking party discipline.

The state secretariat, which met at the state party headquarters Alimuddin Street in Kolkata this morning, took the decision unanimously although former ministers Gautam Deb and Asok Bhattacharya reportedly pleaded for a little milder action given that Banerjee is only 38-years-old.

Sources said what has acted against the former all India general secretary of the SFI and a first time MP is his outburst against party leadership in a television interview on Bengali news channel ABP Ananda.

In the interview telecast on 11 September, Banerjee labelled direct allegations against party’s politburo member Md Salim for allegedly conspiring against him and trying to “hang even before trial.” He also criticised politburo members Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat for allegedly being instrumental in denying a third term to Sitaram Yechuri in the Rajya Sabha.

Salim is the head of a three-member internal probe committee that the Bengal CPI-M had formed in June to investigate the allegations of uncontrolled lifestyle and misconduct by Banerjee, whom the CPI-M had nominated to the Rajya Sabha in April 2014. The party had also suspended him for three months with effect from 2 June.

But alleging that the panel headed by Salim breached into his privacy and obtained his bank statements, Banerjee recently even filed a complaint to the Union finance ministry. That’s not all, providing a copy of the audio recording of the grilling by the Salim panel to Kolkata Police’s cybercrime cell, he has lodged a complaint against Salim under the Information Technology Act.

CPI-M state committee sources said that the recommendation for Banerjee’s expulsion from the party was being sent to the central committee via the party’s politburo. On ratification, the politburo will table this to the central committee, which will take the final call on his expulsion during a meeting slated in Delhi from 14-16 October. Central committee is unlikely to undo the state secretariat’s decision.

Banerjee has not reacted to the development yet, but has posted a photo of him on twitter with a Bengali caption that can be roughly translated as “with the voice of the people.”

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