Tussle between Chatterjee and comrades continues (Political Prattle)

July 22nd, 2008 - 4:30 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) The tussle between Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) continued to be reflected in the Lok Sabha Tuesday. Chatterjee, who is likely to face disciplinary action for his refusal to step down from the speaker’s post, took a jibe at the CPI-M MPs for the ruckus they caused while Finance Minister P. Chidambaram was speaking during the debate on the trust vote sought by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

“You at least are not behaving like a member of a disciplined party,” the speaker told N.N. Krishnadas, the Marxist MP from Palakkad.

When Chatterjee referred to discipline for the second time, a visibly charged Krishnadas stood up and said angrily: “Yes. I am disciplined party member. Yes, I am proud of that.” His party colleagues immediately intervened and persuaded him to take his seat.

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The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which is playing the role of a spoiler in the Congress-led government’s attempts to have a smooth sail in the trust motion, appeared determined to disrupt ruling party’s star speaker Rahul Gandhi’s speech during the debate.

Rahul, who had just started his speech, had to sit down as the BSP MPs stood up raising some papers and shouting “(party chief) Mayawati has been threatened” and that some of their MPs were missing. The MPs continued their uproar despite leader of the house Pranab Mukherjee’s request to allow the debate to continue. Unable to control the commotion, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had to adjourn the house for an hour.

Rahul’s speech, which was keenly heard by Congress MPs, was frequently disturbed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs, who repeatedly made comments about its content.

Rahul looked very confident and responded to each intervention. Unlike in the past two occasions when he spoke in the Lok Sabha, the Amethi MP looked calm and requested the opposition MPs to listen to him.

“Listen to me. Don’t agree with me. But listen to me. You are my elders, so I am requesting you to listen to me,” he told a BJP MP.

When he began his speech by saying that he would speak as an Indian rather than as a politician, some one from the BJP side said: “We are also Indians.”

“I completely agree with you, sir. I would go further in saying that you do speak like an Indian. I don’t have any doubts about it.”

When an opposition MP made a remark on his narration of the story of a widow in Vidarbha - Kalavati - who has nine children, the Congress general secretary retorted: “Her husband has committed suicide. I would urge you to respect her.”

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Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Vadra made a rare appearance at parliament house to hear her brother speak.

Dressed in a half-sleeved white blouse and black trousers, Priyanka arrived with her husband Robert Vadra.

Her presence in the visitor’s gallery resulted in Speaker Somnath Chaterjee’s wife to vacate her front row seat that she had occupied since the debate began Monday and move to the second row.

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