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You don't inspire our confidence, Vajpayee tells Somnath
August 08, 2006 19:17 IST
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee does not inspire as much confidence in the Opposition as he does in the ruling parties, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said on Tuesday.
The National Democratic Alliance rejected Chatterjee's appeal to call off the boycott of Parliament and accused him of suppressing the opposition's voice.
In a letter to Chatterjee, Vajpayee endorsed the NDA's plans not to attend Lok Sabha for a day as a mark of protest against the speaker.
Bharatiya Janata Party sources said the former prime minister indicated his disapproval of the boycott call by arriving at a parliamentary party meeting that he was not planning to attend and reading out the letter in which the Speaker requested reconsideration of the move.
"His arrival at the meeting and reading out the letter showed he too initially wanted us to reconsider his decision," a party source said.
But the former prime minister changed his mind when his party colleagues insisted the Speaker has made them feel hugely humiliated.
"Everyone who spoke agreed that the Opposition's contribution to Parliament's proceedings was crucial. But there was unanimity also that legislature proceedings can be smooth and constructive only if the presiding officer is able to inspire as much confidence in the Opposition as he is able to do in the ruling parties.
'A stark reality is that this situation is totally absent in our House,' Vajpayee said in his letter to Chatterjee.
The former prime minister said the NDA was feeling disappointed over the manner in which the House was at present being run.
'I may add that confidence in one's fairness and objectivity has to be commanded; it cannot be demanded,' Vajpayee said.
'I regret, therefore, that the decision taken by the NDA last evening stands,' he added. Vajpayee, however, told reporters after the party meeting there would be no further boycott of the House.
"The boycott will end today," he said. The BJP circulated copies of Vajpayee's letter to the media as the NDA stayed out of the House and held a one-hour sit-in on the Parliament compound conduct.