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Somnath readies for Malaysia as Speaker

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee presided over a preparatory meeting for the 10-day Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur from August 1, reports Nagendar Sharma.
By Nagendar Sharma | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2008 01:55 AM IST

Giving no indication of resigning from his post soon, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Friday presided over a preparatory meeting for the 10-day Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur from August 1.

Chatterjee, who is to head India’s delegation, briefed members. The meeting was attended by MPs and Speakers of state assemblies.

“These are pre-scheduled meetings and important officials as well as presiding officers of assemblies have to come from outside. Therefore there is no question of postponing such meetings,” the Speaker’s office said.

Asked if Chatterjee would lead the delegation, his office said: “As of today, he is the Speaker and would therefore as per the schedule lead the delegation, but since he has not revealed his mind on what he would do after July 22, don’t read much into schedules decided earlier.”

At the last conference in Fiji in 2005, India’s candidate and Speaker of the West Bengal assembly Hashim Abdul Halim was elected chairman of the CPA executive committee. He is to demit office at the Kuala Lumpur conference.

If Chatterjee quits before the conference, then Halim may lead the delegation, official sources said.

Chatterjee has made it clear that he is unlikely to quit the Speaker’s post before July 22 when the government seeks a trust vote. “It is a million dollar question what will I do after July 22,” he said.

Chatterjee, a 10-time MP, has been under pressure from the CPI(M) to quit the post after the Left parties withdrew support from the UPA government on July 9.

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