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'New friends' throng Somnath's residence

July 23, 2008 22:06 IST

Within hours of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's [Images] expulsion from the CPI-M, several leaders from the ruling UPA coalition thronged his residence to express their solidarity with one expressing readiness to accept the veteran Marxist in his party.

 Among those visiting Chatterjee were Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz and Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi. RJD leaders Devendra Prasad Yadav and Sadhu Yadav also went to meet Chatterjee at his 20 Akbar Road residence.

"The Speaker has the support of the government and of the entire country. Every party has its right over him (as Speaker)," Devendra Prasad Yadav told reporters after meeting Chatterjee.

"The decision to expel him from the CPI-M could be a mistake for the party. However it is the party's internal matter," Soz said. Sadhu Yadav said he would welcome the Speaker "if he wants to join RJD", he said.

Chatterjee was expelled for violating the discipline of the party which wanted him to resign after it withdrew support to the government.

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