Tug of war between CPI-M, Somnath continues

October 22nd, 2008 - 9:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Somnath ChatterjeeNew Delhi, Oct 22 (IANS) The tug of war between the Communist Party of India-Marxist and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee continues, with the party accusing the former CPI-M stalwart of discriminating against it.On Wednesday, for the first time during a sitting of the present Lok Sabha, Left MPs led by the CPI-M stormed into the well of the house after raising slogans against the reduction in Kerala’s quota of foodgrains for the public distribution system.

Adding fuel to fire, CPI-M member A.P. Abdullakutty raised a placard reading “End discrimination against Kerala” as the Left MPs moved to the well of the house. This prompted Chatterjee to suspend Abdullakutty for the day - and this angered his fellow members even more.

On Tuesday, the CPI-M MPs had threatened to storm the well if the speaker didn’t allow them to raise “people’s issues” in the house. This was after Chatterjee did not permit CPI-M Lok Sabha leader Basudev Acharya to move an adjournment motion against the anti-Christian violence in Orissa.

On Wednesday, the CPI-M MPs accused the speaker of colluding with both the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to retain his position, even as burning issues like terrorist attacks, violence against minorities and price rise were not allowed to be raised in the house.

“This is for the first time that we entered in the well as this is for the first time in the history of the Lok Sabha that no burning issue has been allowed to be raised in the house,” CPI-M MP N.N. Krishnadas told IANS.

“Public issues are banned in the House. The NDA does not want to discuss the attacks against minorities, which occurred in the states they are in power. The UPA government, which has failed to control terrorist attacks and price rise, does not want to discuss these matters,” Krishnadas maintained.

“The two coalitions have already reached an agreement on these matters and the speaker, who wants to protect his position, is playing according to their tune,” Krishnadas added.

Acharya also questioned the speaker’s decision to suspend Abdullakutty.

“Abdullakutty had just raised the list of business distributed to the MPs. His demands were written on that paper. He did not even enter in the well of the house,” Acharya said at a press conference in Parliament House.

“Why did the speaker not take action against the MP who removed his clothes and sandals in the well of the house?” Acharya asked, referring to Assam MP S.K. Bwiswmuthiary’s protest Oct 20.

CPI-M deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Mohammad Salim accused Chatterjee of using his discretion for “discrimination”.

“Here, discretion was used for discrimination,” Salim maintained.

The CPI-M had expelled Chatterjee after he refused to step down ahead of the July 22 trust vote the government faced after the Left parties withdrew their outside support on the India-US nuclear deal.

Chatterjee had maintained that as the Lok Sabha Speaker, he was apolitical despite his decades-long association with the CPI-M.

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