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Chatterjee picked for speaker's post
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi |
May 26, 2004 03:28 IST
Political leaders of various parties Tuesday approved of the choice of Communist Party of India-Marxist veteran Somnath Chatterjee as speaker of the 14th Lok Sabha.
Chatterjee's party finally cleared his appointment after his party held a politburo meeting in Kolkata. General Secretary came out to tell the press that the appointment of Chatterjee, a popular figure in the House for his piquant observations, had been approved.
With 34 years experience and a record tenth win from West Bengal's Bolpur parliamentary constituency, Somnathda, as he is popularly known, has impeccable credentials for the job. He is among the best speakers in the Parliament's lower house, in a field that includes the legendary Indrajit Gupta and Bhupesh Gupta, among others. Chatterjee has mostly spoken from the opposition, voicing opinions that, while acerbic, were imbued with insight.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi described him as "an excellent choice and a veteran parliamentarian who is steeped in parliamentary tradition, culture and convention."
Singhvi said Chatterjee, an advocate, was extremely knowledgeable in law and about parliament procedure, that he was fair-minded and objective.
" I am sure he will turn out to be an excellent speaker," Singhvi said..
Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary and spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also extolled Chatterjee's understanding of parliamentary procedure.
Senior Congress leader Salman Khursheed said besides his knowledge, Chatterjee also had the advantage of commanding the respect of all the Lok Sabha members.
" I think that Somnathda is an apt choice," he said, claiming that Chatterjee could carry the House with him because of his sense of fair play.
Lok Janshakti Party chief and central minister Ramvilas Paswan pointed out that Chatterjee was a respected member of the house whose gravity, knowledge and fair-mindedness was acknowledged by all.
Chatterjee himself downplayed his talents, rejecting the possibility a television channel raised -- that, with him as speaker, his party would lose an articulate party MP in the house. He said that, like other Left parties, his party had many effective and articulate members.
Paswan would have none of such modesty.
"You can say he is a legend in his lifetime," he said.