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I don't represent any party: Somnath

Amid speculation over his continuance as Speaker after the Left withdrew support to the UPA, Somnath Chatterjee says he does not represent any political party, reports HT Correspondent.
By HT Correspondent | None, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 11, 2008 12:12 AM IST

Amid speculation over his continuance as Speaker after the Left withdrew support to the UPA, Somnath Chatterjee said he does not represent any political party in the discharge of his duties and functions.

The Lok Sabha Secretariat said in a press release on Thursday, "The present Speaker's election to the high office was not only uncontested but also unanimous as all political parties proposed his name. He was not elected as the nominee of any party. In the discharge of his duties and functions he does not owe allegiance to any political party. Since his election as Speaker, Shri Somnath Chatterjee has scrupulously kept himself away from all political activities."

"As and when any decision is taken by the Hon'ble Speaker, relevant to the present political context, the media will be kept informed,'' the release said.

The statement said the Speaker had taken note of various reports about his continuance in office. It urged the media not to drag the country's highest legislative office into controversies by "speculative reports and undeserved innuendoes".

There has been speculation over Chatterjee's resignation because the CPI(M) included his name in the list of MPs it handed to President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday while withdrawing support to the UPA and urging her to ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek a trust vote in the Lok Sabha

The CPI(M) had, however, left it to Chatterjee to take his own decision on resigning as Speaker. "I am sure the Speaker will decide on his own, taking into account all the circumstances,'' party general secretary Prakash Karat had said shortly after meeting the President.

A veteran parliamentarian, Chatterjee was elected on a CPI(M) ticket from Bolpur in West Bengal.

After the Left withdrew support, former Speaker and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi had said that the CPI(M) had left no choice for Chatterjee but to quit. The Congress, however, has said it has no problem with the veteran leader continuing as Speaker.

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