A day after losing his cool, speaker wishes MPs well
A day after berating MPs for repeatedly disrupting proceedings in the Lok Sabha and remarking that all errant MPs should be defeated in the upcoming elections, Speaker Somnath Chaterjee on Friday climbed down and extended good wishes to all lawmakers.
"Yesterday, I made some comments because of a little frustration. I want all of you, who were standing here (near the speaker's podium) yesterday to come back (to the Lok Sabha) if people support you," said Chatterjee, who is presiding over the last session of Parliament before retiring from active politics.
"I am at ease because I am not contesting this time. I know you are aggrieved but I have my good wishes for everyone."
Unruly MPs continually disrupted proceedings on Thursday, streaming in twos and threes into the area near the speaker's chair, shouting slogans and protesting over various issues that forced Chatterjee to adjourn the Lok Sabha twice.
Frustrated by the disruptions, a furious Chatterjee told the MPs they were insulting the public and did not "deserve a single paisa" in allowances. He also warned that he would adjourn the house sine die.
"You are insulting the people of the country and wasting public money. You do not deserve even a single paisa. You are behaving in a condemnable manner," Chatterjee had thundered.
"You don't deserve any allowances," the speaker went on. "I think this house should be adjourned sine die. This is the only way to save public money."
Through his tenure as presiding officer of the Lok Sabha, Chatterjee has had several run-ins with MPs, sometimes cajoling them to be reasonable while at other times being the strict disciplinarian.
On Thursday, Chatterjee found himself helpless in the face of MPs' determined bid to raise the issues they wanted to raise - MPs from Tamil Nadu wanted to talk about the Sri Lankan issue, the Telegu Desam MPs wanted to raise the Satyam Computer Services matter while the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Republican Party of India MPs were objecting to the move to delink higher professional institutions from the proposed SC/ST Bill.