Bush, Somnath likely to rock Lok Sabha Monday

May 4th, 2008 - 10:33 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) The Lok Sabha is expected to have a stormy sitting Monday over US President George W. Bush’s remarks on the Indian middle class eating well and contributing to the global food crisis, as also Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s move to refer some fellow members to the house privileges committee for defiance of the chair. The Rajya Sabha will be adjourned after paying homage to Nirmala Deshpande, the noted Gandhian and sitting member of the upper house who died Thursday.

“We will raise the issue of Bush’s remarks in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday. It was totally unwarranted,” D. Raja of the Communist Party of India (CPI) told IANS, adding that in the LOk Sabha the Left members would raise the issue Monday.

“The house should condemn such utterances in unison,” Abani Roy of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) said.

Bush was reported to have said in Missouri Friday that there were 350 million people in India who are classified as middle class. “That’s bigger than America. Their middle class is larger than our entire population. And when you start getting wealth, you start demanding better nutrition and better food, and so demand is high, and that causes the price to go up,” he said.

Speaker Chatterjee also is set to face heat from the main opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), for referring 32 MPs to the Privileges Committee for making noises in the house defying the chair’s pleas to maintain peace.

Since most of the members who drew Chatterjee’s ire are from the NDA, the top alliance leaders will meet Monday morning to decide their course of action. The NDA in the past has accused Chatterjee of partiality.

“The NDA leaders will meet Monday to discuss the situation arising out Chatterjee’s move. It is a serious development,” said Braj Kishore Tripathi of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a constituent of the NDA.

NDA sources said the alliance leaders were contemplating three options - boycott of the proceedings, no-confidence motion against the chair, and simply sitting in the house without making any interventions.

“The last option is equivalent to the Gandhian way of protests and disapproval. It has gone down well with the many NDA constituents, while a section of alliance leaders is suggesting boycott of the house till Friday, the last day of the budget session,” a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity, told IANS.

Raja, however, refrained from commenting Chatterjee’s decision, saying the matter was related to the Lok Sabha. Raja is a member of the Rajya Sabha.

Some Left leaders felt Chatterjee should have opted for some other way to rein in the slogan-shouting members. The NDA now has ammunition to attack him, they added.

“The noisy scenes are expected in the Lok Sabha Monday. There is a need to check the people’s credentials at the stage of ticket distribution first …There were other options to convey the chair’s anguish too,” Roy said.

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