Somnath's remarks disrupt trust vote debate
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Somnath Chatterjee's 'unsavoury remarks' disrupted the confidence vote proceedings this afternoon, forcing Lok Sabha Speaker Ganti Mohana Chandra Balayogi to adjourn the House for an hour.
Speaking on the motion moved by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Chatterjee said that some of the BJP allies were
'known for corruption'. Without naming them, he read out media reports regarding cases pending against some of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham leaders.
Chatterjee even questioned the wisdom of Vajpayee in having
an alliance with such political parties.
At one point, Chatterjee mentioned Jayalalitha's name, saying that she was initially reluctant to send her party's support letter to the BJP.
The BJP sent its 'Prince Charming' (BJP leader and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Jaswant Singh) to Madras to negotiate with Jayalalitha. Talking about the meeting, he said, ''We do not know what transpired within the closed room of the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalitha... Mr Jaswant Singh could not win the hearts of Chittorgarh (in Rajasthan, where he lost the Lok Sabha election) people but he won her heart.''
This evoked strong protest from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagham members who wanted the remarks to be withdrawn. Noisy scenes followed, with senior BJP leaders and the Trinamul Congress members supporting the AIADMK.
The House witnessed ugly scenes as the Trinamul Congress, led by its leader Mamata Banerjee, clashed with the CPI-M members even as Chatterjee said, ''If they are objectionable, I am withdrawing my remarks.''
The Speaker appeared helpless when the agitated AIADMK
members rushed to the well, objecting to Chatterjee's remarks
against their party supremo. They said they would not allow Chatterjee to continue until his remarks were removed from the
Even Vajpayee and other senior leaders could not pacify the AIADMK members. The Speaker then adjourned the House till 1430 hours.
Earlier, Chatterjee said the BJP's main plank of consensus is
'hollow' and that his assumption that Vajpayee was committed to
certain basic values totally went wrong.
The CPI-M leader said the BJP's one-point aim was to capture power by hook or by crook and its commitment to fight corruption was only a mask.
The attitude of the allies was equally disturbing, Chatterjee said. They had no unified action plan.
The AIADMK literally held the BJP to ransom before sending a letter of support and it was difficult for the BJP to accept some of the demands of its allies, he said.
The AIADMK members rebutted Chatterjee's charges and tried to interrupt his speech.
Normalcy returned when Chatterjee clarified his position after lunch.
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