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Somnath left us no choice, says Karat

July 24, 2008 14:42 IST
Last Updated: July 24, 2008 15:46 IST

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Coverage: An Alliance in Crisis

Defending the decision to expel Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee [Images] from the party, CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat [Images] on Thursday said they did not have any other option but to take disciplinary action against the veteran Marxist as he refused to quit the post after a party directive.

Somnath had no backers in CPM central panel

Addressing a press conference in Hyderabad, Karat said it was 'unfortunate' for them to take disciplinary action against the veteran Marxist leader and it was not a 'happy thing' to do.

"The Central Committee decided that no member of the party should remain the Speaker of Lok Sabha after the withdrawal of support. We were asked to communicate this to him. He did not agree. We had no option (but to take action)," Karat said.

Dissent brews in CPM over Somnath's expulsion

Karat said the central committee was of the view that they Front had accepted a suggestion from the Congress that a member of the Left parties should be the Speaker.

"We accepted that because we were supporting the government and no Speaker is made from the opposition as it would be difficult for the Government to function properly," he said.

He said that on July 9, the Left became part of the opposition after withdrawal of support and the central committee was of the opinion that no member of the party can remain the Speaker after that. 

Karat said he did not want to say anything which would unnecessarily create controversies on the Speaker's role.

"Only thing what I am saying is as far as my party is concerned we have exercised our party disciplinary machinery or method," he said.

"To continue or not as the Speaker is his decision, it is up to him. But whether he will remain as our party member, that we will decide," the CPI-M leader said.

He said the CPI-M ensured that during the trust motion, they did not do anything which would interfere with the role of the Speaker.

"We have subsequently taken action strictly as per our Central Committee's mandate. In our party constitution, there are methods and measures by which any party member can appeal against any disciplinary action," he said.

On the trust vote, Karat said it did not provide legitimacy to the Manmohan Singh [Images] government and the UPA has lost the 'moral authority' to govern.

Noting that there is an 'absence of political consensus' on the nuclear deal, 'as far as the deal is concerned, the debate showed persisting sharp division on it'.
On the BJP MPs' 'disturbing' accusation that a Samajwadi Party leader tried to bribe them by offering Rs 3 crore each for abstaining from voting, Karat said that the tape submitted by a TV channel about the episode should be made public.

He also said there was no reason why the TV channel was not broadcasting those tapes because 'it is a matter of serious public concern and interest'.

"Whether these charges made by three MPs are correct or are there any prima facie ground proceedings in this matter. All these are major questions. So we have demanded that this tape should immediately be made public," Karat said.

He also said that the Left parties met with like-minded parties on Wednesday and decided to launch a nationwide campaign against the Government on price rise, failure to tackle agrarian crisis and the problems faced by the rural poor.

Karat said the parties would continue to fight against communal forces and oppose the nuclear deal.

"We will tell the country that this government is misusing institutions and agencies like CBI to harass political opponents," he added.

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