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Speaker Somnath Chatterjee will quit on August 12: Sources

Indrani Roy Mitra in Kolkata | July 21, 2008 21:33 IST
Last Updated: July 21, 2008 21:58 IST


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Just as the United Progressive Alliance government gears up for the trust vote in Parliament on Tuesday, sources close to Somnath Chatterjee revealed to a section of the media that the Lok Sabha Speaker would put in his papers only on August 12.

 

Chatterjee, according to the sources, would preside over the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meet to be held in Kuala Lumpur between August 1 and August 10. He will put in his papers soon after the event.

 

The news came as a big jolt to the West Bengal's Communist Party of India-Marxist men, who till late Monday night, were trying to convince Chatterjee to resign.

 

According to party insiders, West Bengal Left Front Chairman Biman Bose had extended his stay in New Delhi for this purpose.

 

The CPI-M central committee asked Chatterjee to resign on Sunday night, a request he ignored when he chaired the special session of the Lok Sabha on Monday.

 

While Chatterjee's refusal to step down has left the Left red-faced, he hasn't done anything unconstitutional.

 

Even some veteran CPI-M leaders feel that the Speaker had taken the right decision as the post of a speaker is above any party leadership.

 

CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat's stand to put pressure on Chatterjee to resign, therefore, has stirred up a controversy and differing views among his own people.

 

According to sources, the CPI-M patriarch and former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu reportedly expressed his 'displeasure' over the manner in which Karat and his supporters have pressured the Lok Sabha Speaker to put in his papers.

 

"It is unwise to withdraw support from the government over the nuclear deal," a source close to Basu told rediff.com on Monday.

 

Chatterjee met Basu recently to discuss the resignation issue.

 

Apart from Basu, the Speaker found another voice of support in his predecessor Purno A Sangma.

 

Sangma not only backed Chatterjee's move but also mentioned that he had the constitutional right to vote for the government in case of a tie during the trust vote.

 






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