India: CPI(M) disapproves actions of party MP after he was questioned about lifestyle

CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee. Photograph:( Facebook )

WION Kolkata, West Bengal, India Feb 19, 2017, 05.44 PM (IST) Pooja Mehta

A day after WION reported how CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee complained to one of his party supporters' employer after being questioned over his source of income, the CPI(M) State Committee disapproved of Banerjee's actions.

In a statement, senior party leader Sitaram Yechury said, "The matter was discussed in the Polit Bureau. But the West Bengal state committee has already disapproved one of the actions taken by Ritabrata Banerjee. Disapproval means that it is not in accordance with party’s principles and position. CPM is a party that is transparent. If anything wrong happens, we will correct it and this has been corrected. Further disciplinary actions will be discussed in West Bengal state committee."

This disapproval of the party comes in the wake of Banerjee complaining to the Human Resources department of a party supporter's company, after the person questioned him over carrying a Mont Blanc pen and an Apple watch.

On February 12, Banerjee had visited Siliguri to watch a football match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.Banerjee had reportedly uploaded a picture on Facebook, sporting a Mont Blanc pen and Apple watch.

Trouble began when one of his Facebook friends and a supporter of the same party questioned his source of income.

"The Apple Watch, which he is flaunting, starts at $349 in US which goes up to $1049! If I am not mistaken, the writing instrument is Mont Blanc meisterstuck (German word, English: Master Piece) price of which in India, starts at 30,000 INR. How could this fellow afford such luxurious accessories??? Surely the source of income is not the monthly wage of Rs.6,000 that he receives as a Communist Party  whole-timer to carry a Pen which is worth his 6 months income?!!!” a part of the Facebook post read.  

After the post went viral, a clearly peeved Banerjee complained to the HR of the company where the concerned individual is working. A screenshot available with WION, the authenticity of which could not be ascertained, shows a mail sent from Banerjee’s email address to the company’s HR.

The mail reads, “This is Ritabrata Banerjee, member of the Upper House of the Indian Parliament. One of your employees *********** is constantly making hate speeches against me and maligning me in social media. I am going to lodge a formal complaint with Delhi Police and also take legal steps. Can you pls forward me the mail id of your company. I will send a letter about the matter to you in my letterhead. I believe you people will also look into the matter.”

The person works with a Bengaluru-based start up and according to sources in his organisation, he has been asked to quit the company after Banerjee reached out to the HR of the company. The two co-founders of the start up are in a fix over this issue, reveal sources.

However, when WION approached Banerjee for his version on this, he had said, “I have no idea about this matter.” No police complaint was filed from Banerjee’s end till the last reports came in.

It can be noted that CPI(M) is a party which believes in social equality and generally promotes austere living among their party members. However, Banerjee’s actions have drawn a lot of flak on the social media.