Communist pullout could support formation of communal government: Congress

August 2nd, 2008 - 1:07 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Somnath Chatterjee

New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) With the communists saying they would never return to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the Congress party that leads India’s ruling coalition Friday said this could pave the way for a “communal government” in the country. And, with Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee terming his expulsion from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) as “one of the saddest days” of his life, the Congress maintained that the Speaker’s office was neutral and efforts should not be made to denigrate it.

The Congress also condemned the Bharatiya Janata Party’s decision to boycott the CNN-IBN TV news channel for not telecasting the sting it had conducted on BJP MP’s accepting money in the cash-for-votes controversy that had rocked parliament on the day the trust vote was taken.

Speaking to reporters here, Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmad said: “It is hypothetical to say anything now. After next general elections, the UPA may not get a complete majority. If we don’t, then the Left will have paved the way for the formation of a communal government.”

Launching an attack on the Left parties, Ahmad said: “The Left had made a strategic partnership with the BJP in an attempt to defeat the UPA government during the parliament trust vote.”

“The Left leaders’ statement clearly show that the Left will again repeat the historic mistake committed by them in 1977 and 1988,” Ahmad added.

The Congress also sought an apology from the BJP for party leader Sushma Swaraj’s remarks that the serial blasts in Ahemdabad and Bangalore were organized to divert the attention from cash-for-vote scam.

“The BJP should tender an apology to the UPA government and to the people of the country for making such remarks,” Ahmad maintained.

About Chatterjee, the spokesman said: “He is competent enough to take his decision and no one should do anything to denigrate the office of speaker.”

“It is true that the speaker is an MP and is elected on a particular party’s ticket. But once elected as speaker, he or she becomes neutral. Somnath has remained a neutral person,” Ahmad said.

Earlier Friday, Chatterjee had said that no party could treat the speaker as its member - and suggested that on being elected to the post, an MP should temporarily resign from his party.

On the boycott of the TV channel, Ahmad said: “We condemn the BJP’s decision to boycott CNN-IBN. The media is the fourth pillar of democracy and efforts should not be made to curb the freedom of press.”

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