Speaker-BJP ties nosedive, again

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and the BJP are again on a collision course, this time over the chair?s decision to conduct Lok Sabha proceedings, reports Saroj Nagi.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 04:05 IST
Saroj Nagi

Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and the BJP are again on a collision course, this time over the chair’s decision to conduct Lok Sabha proceedings amid din over party chief Rajnath Singh's arrest in West Bengal on Monday.

Another sore point: Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi held a one-on-one discussion with the Speaker in the House, which the BJP said was against norms.

To register its protest, the BJP boycotted the House and the Lok Sabha Business Advisory Committee for the day.

The Speaker, however, cleared the agenda of the day — including the Uttaranchal renaming bill and the debate on price rise — amidst uproar.

Later Dasmunsi said Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee would try to persuade Leader of the Opposition LK Advani to withdraw the boycott. He, however, denied the BJP's charge that the Speaker was acting at the government's behest.

“Everyone knows the Speaker's personality... Everyone knows that he pulls up Congress ministers also," said Dasmunsi. Refuting the BJP's charge, he said as parliamentary affairs minister he had to act as bridgehead between the Treasury, the Opposition and the Chair. Conversing with the presiding officer did not mean Chatterjee was being "controlled'', he said.

Sources rule out the possibility of Chatterjee talking to BJP leaders to resolve the deadlock. Reasons: One, the BJP had not informed him of its "boycott"; and two, it was for the government to take the initiative. The Speaker would also be wary of intervening after the NDA cast aspersions on his conduct and boycotted the House for a day during the monsoon session.

While admitting that any party would be agitated over its leader's arrest, Dasmunsi said the BJP did not give any notice for raising the matter. At the morning meeting in the Speaker's chambers before the House assembled, BJP's Santosh Gangwar only wanted permission to raise the Bhagalpur train accident issue. ``But suddenly they raised the issue of Rajnath's arrest and stormed the well of the House" alleged Dasmunsi.

Earlier in the day, Chatterjee wondered at the relevance of holding morning meeting with leaders when its decisions were not implemented in the House.

Email Saroj Nagi: snagi@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 04:05 IST