Nine days after he was expelled from the CPM, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee for the first time on Friday slammed the party general secretary Prakash Karat for trying to undermine a constitutional position by demanding his resignation.
In a five-page statement, Somnath hit out at the CPM leadership for changing its stand on his continuation as Speaker, and having made a desperate bid to force him to quit in haste.
"I have consciously taken the principled decision to uphold the Constitution of India at the risk of being unjustifiably dubbed as anti-party", he said in an emotional statement.
Making it clear that he was not interested in contesting any more elections, Chatterjee, a ten-time MP, however made it clear that he would complete his tenure as Speaker and then devote rest of his life for social service.
In an obvious reference to Karat's recent remarks that the Speaker cannot be considered apolitical, Chatterjee countered :"The Speaker did not and does not owe allegiance to any political party".
Giving his version of sequence of exchanges with Karat during the period when Left parties withdrew support from the UPA government, Chatterjee said till July 20 the CPM maintained that it was upto him to decide on the resignation, but then suddenly the party directed him to quit.
"In the afternoon of July 20, for the first time I was verbally told by a Politburo member that it was the decision of the party that I should resign and vote against the motion. When I refused, subsequently it was suggested that I should resign and may not attend the House to cast my vote", Chatterjee said. The Speaker refused to accept the party decision saying, “It would seriously compromise the Constitutional position of the Speaker.”