Speaker reconsiders decision, 32 MPs let off (Lead)

May 5th, 2008 - 6:35 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Acting on a request from all parties, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee Monday retracted his decision to refer 32 MPs, most of them from the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), to the house privileges committee. Pranab Mukherjee, leader of the house, said: “MPs met the speaker in his chamber and promised full cooperation. Accordingly, I request you (the speaker) to reconsider the matter.”

Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani seconded Mukherjee’s request. The speaker then told the house he was extremely thankful to the members for their cooperation.

However, some Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) members got up from their seats and demanded that the speaker “tell the nation” that these MPs were being let off only after they had tendered an apology in his chamber.

This led to a heated argument between members of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), an NDA constituent, and those of RJD.

The speaker interrupted them and clarified: “There is no question of an apology. Whatever is mentioned here is what happened. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Chatterjee had referred the “disorderly conduct” of the 32 MPs, mostly from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies in the NDA, to the privileges committee.

These members had disrupted the proceedings of the house April 24 on the issue of price rise. They walked into the well of the house and shouted slogans asking the government to either control prices or quit.

On the same day, Brajesh Pathak of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had repeatedly prevented Chemicals and Fertiliser Minister Ram Vilas Paswan from answering a question on supply of fertilisers to Uttar Pradesh.

When the house met at 11 a.m. Monday, the BJP members had put fingers on their lips in a gesture of protest against the speaker’s action. Chatterjee had adjourned the house till 2 p.m.

This issue was the last one discussed by the house before the speaker adjourned it sine die four days ahead of schedule.

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