CPM tells Speaker to quit, but Somnath may not oblige | delhi | Hindustan Times
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CPM tells Speaker to quit, but Somnath may not oblige

delhi Updated: Jul 21, 2008 02:09 IST
Jatin Gandhi

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has been asked by his party to resign before the July 22 trust vote, sources told HT.

The move is likely to add to the political chaos marked by defections and parties hurling charges at each other. Chatterjee is scheduled to meet CPM leaders on Monday before the debate on the confidence motion starts.

Sources close to the Speaker said the only communication he had received from the CPM was party general secretary Prakash Karat’s public statement that the decision to resign had been left with the Speaker.

UPA sources told HT that it should be an individual decision but they hope it will be in line with the conventions of the high office he holds.

The CPM’s Central Committee that concluded its two-day meet had, by Sunday afternoon, authorised the Politburo to decide the course of action against Chatterjee for his defiance of the party line and publicly censured West Bengal minister Subhash Chakraborty who had spoken in his favour.

The censure during the day came as a signal of what lay ahead for Chatterjee. The Central Committee statement said it had publicly censured Chakraborty because he spoke against the party line. “He should conform to the norms of the party,” it said.

Karat had all along held that Chatterjee should have decided for himself based on the circumstances. With Chatterjee adamant on not quitting, the party's decision came at the 11th hour.

UPA is domed, says Karat

“The deal will be doomed and this government will be doomed on July 22,” an upbeat and defiant Karat declared on Sunday as more anti-UPA forces joined hands during the day.

Karat addressed the media twice in less than an hour — first with BSP chief Mayawati, UNPA leaders and his comrades and then at the CPM headquarters. For the first time, Karat said the Left is open to working with the BSP beyond the trust vote.

The coming together of anti-UPA forces around the nuclear deal rekindles hopes of a non-Congress, non-BJP third alternative that the Left had been working on till the SP switched sides.

“We will work together after July 22 because so many parties are co-ordinating with us. Deve Gowda and Ajit Singh are among them. After the trust vote, we have scheduled a meeting on July 23 morning,” Karat said.

The CPM leader seemed confident about the UPA failing the vote. “We wish to warn the government: In case you lose the trust vote, don’t try to push through with the deal. The country will revolt.”

The Central Committee had authorised the Politburo “to gather more such forces”, Karat added.

On why he thought the government would lose the vote, he said: “I am in the business of fighting the government politically, I can’t talk numbers. More and more people are supporting us.”