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Somnath breaks silence, slams CPI-M

August 01, 2008 15:53 IST

Breaking his silence, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee [Images] on Friday ruled out quitting and hit out at the Communist Party of India � Marxist for demanding his resignation, saying it cannot give any direction to him in his Constitutional office.

"I have consciously taken the principled decision to uphold the Constitution of India at the risk of being unjustifiably dubbed as anti-party," he said in a five-page statement. He added, I will fulfill my obligations and responsibilities as the Speaker during my tenure".

Calling July 23, the day of his expulsion from CPI-M, as one of the saddest day of his life, Chatterjee said it was a 'canard' to allege that his continuance in the post was to help any party or parties or 'on some other personal considerations'.

"I strongly and categorically deny these wholly baseless allegations," he said in the statement which also traces the events ever since the Left parties decided to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance government.

The Speaker contended that the party could not direct him to resign and vote against the government as it would 'seriously compromise' the Constitutional position of the Speaker.

Asserting that he had scrupulously kept himself away from all political activities whatsoever, Chatterjee suggested that in view of the controversies now being raised, a member should temporarily resign from the party during his tenure as Speaker and not face a situation which compromises the position of the Speaker vis-a-vis his party.

Recalling the developments in the run-up to the July 22 trust vote in the Lok Sabha, he said on July 6, when the CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat [Images] met him to explain the party's stand on the Indo-US nuclear deal, he was told that the party had not discussed any matter regarding the Speaker.

On the morning of July 9, Karat telephonically conveyed to him that a section of the party felt that his continuance as Speaker might be untenable. However, it was stated the final decision would be left to him.

On the same day, Chatterjee said he was surprised to learn from the media that his name was mentioned in the communication to the President on the withdrawal of support without any intimation to or any discussion with him.

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