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Pressure mounts on Chatterjee to quit

July 12, 2008 22:15 IST

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has come under under mounting pressure from his party CPI(M) to quit the post in the wake of Left parties' withdrawal of support to the UPA Government.

Chatterjee, who has maintained that his post was above politics, is meeting party veteran Jyoti Basu in Kolkata on Sunday and may step down on Monday, party sources indicated.

The CPI(M) is reportedly banking on Basu persuading Chatterjee to step down.,

Though the CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat maintained a public posture that the party had not taken a decison that he should resign, enough hints had been sent to him to put in his papers in view of the new situation.

"No, that is not correct. There is no such decision as yet," Karat told PTI when asked whether the party has asked Chatterjee to step down and that he would quit on Monday.

On Wednesday, Karat had given ample hints of his intentions when he said that Chatterjee would decide on his own whether to resign from his post in the light of Left parties decision to withdraw support.

The Speaker was also not said to be very happy with his name being included in the Left parties' list of members given to President Pratibha Patil [Images] as those who have withdrawn support.

Chatterjee did not react to media reports today that he will quit but his Office maintained that his statement two days ago that he does not represent any political party in the discharge of his duties and functions still held good.

His office said that no decision has been taken as such and as and when a decision will be taken, it will be made public.

Senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the Speaker understands the political position and would take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) rubbished reports that party veteran Jyoti Basu does not agree with the decision to vote against the UPA Government calling them "fabricated".

"Such motivated reports are being floated to hamper the rallying of all the forces who are committed to opposing the nuclear deal and bring to book the UPA Government's failure to tackle price rise and other problems of the people," the party said in a press release.

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