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Somnath 'pained', wants to quit

The LS Speaker is upset over a sharp letter from Vajpayee that suggests he's unable to command Oppn's confidence.

india Updated: Aug 08, 2006 21:44 IST

Hurt by the day-long boycott of the House by the Opposition capped by NDA Chairman Atal Bihari Vajpayee's attack on him, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Tuesday spoke in terms of resigning from the post, a move the Left parties said he should not press.

"Today when we met him (Speaker), he said 'I will resign'. We told him that you have been unanimously elected by Parliament," CPI Parliamentary Party leader Gurudas Dasgupta said after a group of Left parties leaders met the Speaker, suggesting he was persuaded not to do so.

The Left leaders meeting with Chatterjee came at the end of a day-long boycott by the BJP-led NDA which took the decision to protest against the Speaker "suppressing" the voice of the Opposition and his steps to get the Government transact its business on Monday when the Pathak report was tabled.

The Opposition had also rejected the Speaker's appeal to it not to go ahead with the boycott but attend the House. But what upset the Speaker was a sharp letter from Vajpayee that suggested that he was not able to command the confidence of the Opposition members.

"All sections of the National Democratic Alliance feel deeply disappointed at the manner in which the House is being run at present. I may add that confidence in one's fairness and objectivity has to be commanded; it cannot be demanded," the former Prime Minister said in the letter ruling out going back on the boycott decision.

The Speaker declined to react to Vajpayee's letter saying he had immense respect for him and he would not like to say anything on it.

First Published: Aug 08, 2006 11:28 IST