Friday, August 01, 2008

The Speaker has spoken

The Lok Sabha Speaker, Somnath Chatterjee has at last spoken through a press release explaining his anguish and also giving an account of the happenings.

He said:

"In view of the controversies that are now being raised based on a Party's contention that while as Speaker, a Member of Parliament should continue to be under the direction and control of the Party, a convention should start now that during his/her tenure as Speaker, a Member should temporarily resign from the membership of the Party and not face a situation which compromises the position of the Speaker vis-a-vis his or her Party."

Is he thus admitting that the situation today has compromised his position as Speaker? Why did he not use the option given by Paragraph 5 of Tenth Schedule in 2004?

Some questions which remain unanswered by him:

1. What about the convention of Speaker belonging to the ruling party/coalition/or supporting party? Is he not violating that convention? Mere unanimous election by all parties does not make any difference to the situation. A Speaker, elected after a contest, is also supposed to act impartially. Contest is envisaged in the election of the Speaker, so absence of it –because there are no other contenders - cannot be cited as a reason for not following a binding convention.

2. Selective reference to his June 4, 2004 speech: Why did he omit this part of his speech in today's press release?
"As a Leftist, as one belonging to the Left Party, friends on my left may be rest assured that I have a natural leaning towards the left."
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