Somnath protests CPI-M’s ‘insulting’ behaviour

October 24th, 2008 - 5:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Somnath ChatterjeeNew Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was Friday questioned by his former Left colleagues for not allowing an adjournment motion on the anti-Christian violence in Orissa and Karnataka, abruptly left the house, alleging that the chair was being insulted.Chatterjee invited Deputy Speaker Charnjit Singh Atwal to take the chair and strode into his chamber after first profusely thanking Railways Minister Lalu Prasad for his support in controlling the proceedings.

The house witnessed dramatic scenes after question hour when Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Das Gupta, referring to the rule book, raised a point of order against the speaker’s ruling that a discussion on the violence would be allowed under rule 193 and not as an adjournment motion as Basudeb Acharya of the Communist Party of India-Marxist had demanded.

A discussion on an adjournment motion requires voting while that under rule 193 does not.

Chatterjee then invited Acharya to speak but Das Gupta intervened to say that the government’s view should be sought on whether it favoured an adjournment motion or a discussion under rule 193.

Acharya then pointed out that he had been seeking an adjournment motion ever since the present session began Oct 17.

Irked over Das Gupta’s demand, Chatterjee said: “You are continuously insulting the chair. There is a limit. You are deliberately doing it. If you want to insult the chair, do it.”

Lalu Prasad, looking at the speaker, said: “We are with you.”

Chatterjee expressed his gratitude to the railways minister and asked Acharya to continue. A few moments later, he invited the deputy speaker to the chair and left the house.

Earlier, Left party MPs and the speaker had an argument on the notice they had served of a breach of privilege motion against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Referring to the rule book, Chatterjee said he was not satisfied with the notice. When Varkala Radhakrishnan of the CPI-M questioned the ruling, Chatterjee said: “You can bring a motion saying the speaker is misleading the house.”

Acharya’s speech on the Orissa violence was continuously disrupted by Biju Janata Dal members. Other NDA members also disrupted Acharya’s speech, alleging that the West Bengal government had “butchered” Muslims in Nandigram and they did not have any moral right to raise the Orissa incidents in the house.

Acharya’s reference to the 2002 Gujarat violence was objected to by BJP members and subsequently, 20 minutes before the lunch break, the deputy speaker adjourned the house till 2.00 p.m.

The CPI-M had expelled Chatterjee for refusing to step down ahead of the July 22 trust vote in parliament that had been prompted by the Left parties withdrawing their support to the government on the India-US nuclear deal.

Chatterjee had contended that as the speaker, he was apolitical despite his decades-long association with the CPI-M.

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