Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Speaker turns against the Left, does not want to quit

The Left has always modeled itself on its adherence to political probity, and to good norms (in the process considering itself the party with the highest morals); of course it is another matter that people who cannot stand the policies of the Left (and its pandering to an out-dated economic model and to its adherence to a blind model of secularism (you just have to remember their threatening the Samajwadi Party with the loss of the Muslim vote if it supported the Congress) consider it the most morally bankrupt party. And of course, its dictatorial and violent ways in Bengal shows up its true nature. But this particular example takes the cake.
In the Indian system of parliamentary democracy, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is seen to be an impartial judge, and even though a lot of politics go into the election of the Speaker, once in, the speaker is seen as the most unbiased political person, and specially not supporting the policies of the party from which he was elected. Many speakers in the past have tried to adhere to this policy (and some have succeeded to some degree). The current speaker, Somnath Chaterjee, has always claimed that he is now not a Left party member, but the speaker, the person who no longer will profess any political beliefs.
So, how come such a situation has come to pass that the speaker is being told by Comrade Karat that he is now a Left party member and should withdraw from the post of the speaker. This is crass bad political behavior, trying to force a person to resign who is supposed to be now above political beliefs:

Despite the pressure mounted on him by the CPM leadership to resign his post immediately, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee remains defiant as he questioned their very decision to go along with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). An angry Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) general secretary Prakash Karat, according to party sources, has asked Politburo member Sitaram Yechury to convince Chatterjee about quitting the Speaker's post, which was the result of an understanding that the Left had with the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) when it decided to prop it up in 2004.
However, Chatterjee, who has had meetings with Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Petroleum Minister Murli Deora during the last two days, is insisting he would give up his Lok Sabha membership also if he had to quit the Speaker's post. The Speaker is believed to have told the CPM leadership that he would not be in a position to vote against the UPA in the Lok Sabha. Chatterjee, who will be 79 on July 25, is also arguing that such a move would cast a shadow on the Speaker's office as it is supposed to be above party politics.

Somehow, in this case, one does not think that it is the loss of the chair that is worrying Chaterjee as much as the fact that suddenly he is being forced to resign to support a cause for which he was not consulted.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 11:36 AM