Amid growing speculation whether Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee will step down in view of the Left's pullout from the government, the CPM on Saturday said it was a decision Chatterjee had to take, but reminded the Bengal MP that he had won the Lok Sabha poll on the party symbol and was a senior party leader.
Sources in the Left said Chatterjee would likely resign before the trust vote. Chatterjee's name is in the list of 43 party MPs and one Independent withdrawing support from the UPA, which CPM general secretary Prakash Karat had submitted to the President on July 9.
CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said: "He (the Speaker) is a senior member of our party and he contested on our symbol. When an MP becomes Speaker, he does not engage in party activities. Once it is over, he gets back. Look at Shivraj Patil. He is the Home Minister today."
Karat said the issue of Chatterjee's resignation was not discussed at a meeting of the party MP on Saturday. Though the party is not mounting pressure openly, it wants Chatterjee to resign.
Karat had already discussed the party's view on Chatterjee at a programme organised by the CPM's West Bengal unit in Kolkata on July 5, sources said. CPI general secretary AB Bardhan was also present at the Kolkata meeting.