CPI-M politburo meets, to move against Somnath

July 23rd, 2008 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo met Wednesday amid strong indications that disciplinary action is to be taken against Somnath Chatterjee for not resigning as the Lok Sabha speaker ahead of the trust vote the government won overnight. Seven members of the 14 politburo members gathered at the CPI-M headquarters, with a party source saying that Chatterjee - elected to the Lok Sabha for the 10th time in 2004 - could either be suspended or expelled.

“But since he (Chatterjee) has said that he will not give up the speaker’s post, we have little choice (other than expelling him),” the source told IANS.

A former member of the CPI-M central committee, Chatterjee refused to quit the speaker’s chair after the Left parties withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government following differences with the ruling Congress over the India-US civil nuclear deal.

Chatterjee presided over the special session of parliament in defiance of CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat, who did not want Chatterjee to be in the speaker’s chair after the Left stopped supporting the government.

The CPI-M central committee, which met July 19 and 20 to discuss the political crisis emanating from the nuclear row, had authorised the politburo - its highest decision making body - to take action against Chatterjee.

“The central committee had authorised the politburo to go ahead,” said a CPI-M source.

The speaker is scheduled to leave on a 10-day trip to Kuala Lumpur Aug 1 to attend a meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

Chatterjee, a Cambridge-trained barrister, took to politics in 1968 and was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1971.

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