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CPI-M defends pressure on Speaker to quit

July 16, 2008 18:00 IST

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Facing defiance from Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee over the issue of his continuance in office, the Communist Party of India - Marxist on Wednesday insisted that there was nothing wrong in including his name in the list of Members of Parliament withdrawing support to the United Progressive Alliance, as he was elected on a party ticket.

CPI-M Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said in a statement that a 'disinformation campaign' on the issue of inclusion of Speaker's name in the CPI-M list submitted to the President was doing the rounds.

"What I said is that the Speaker's name should be included in the CPI-M list as he was elected as a CPI-M candidate but with an asterisk denoting that he is the Lok Sabha Speaker, as is the normal Parliamentary procedure," he said.

The clarification came following reports, which quoted Yechury as saying that Chatterjee should have been consulted before including his name in the list.

His remarks came amid speculation of a possible face-off between CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and Chatterjee over the latter's reported refusal to quit the post.

Suspense continued over Chatterjee's next move as there was no word as to whether he would toe the party line to step down and vote against the government.

Media speculated that he may not preside over the trust vote on July 22 and thereafter resign both as Speaker and Lok Sabha MP to convey his displeasure over the party including his name in the list submitted to Pratibha Patil [Images] without consulting him.

Chatterjee has came under pressure from his party to quit the post but he is understood to have raised questions over the CPI-M's decision to vote along with Bharatiya Janata Party against the UPA government during the trust vote.

Asked about reports that Chatterjee has refused to resign, Yechury said, "We have taken our position very clearly and it is up to the Speaker and we are confident that he will take appropriate decision at the appropriate time".

Reflecting the party's unhappiness over speculative reports in the media, he said, "The party doesn't set its agenda on the basis of media disinformation. Media speculation is not the determinator of our agenda".

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