Somnath biased against Left : CPI(M)

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Oct 22 | Updated: Oct 24 2008, 05:16am hrs
Bringing out underlying tensions between them in the open, the CPI(M) on Wednesday levelled charges of discrimination against Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, a former leader of the party, after he took recourse to stringent action against a CPI(M) MP, suspending him for a day for waving a paper in the house.

Discretionary powers cannot be used on the basis of discrimination CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim told reporters as the party leader in the Lower House Basudeb Acharya maintained that no action was taken against members who had disrupted proceedings in the House by trooping into the well, shown placards and even thrown papers on the table of the presiding officer.

Without naming Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, Salim said one member even threw papers on the table of the presiding officer when the Deputy Speaker was chairing the session. But no action was taken.

CPI(M) member AP Abdullakutty, the MP in question, said he was suspended for waving the agenda paper even when every other day, one or the other member goes into the well and displays photographs. The MP from Cannanore was protesting against the slashing of central rice quota for Kerala along with other colleagues from the state.

The sharp criticism against the Speaker is the first attack by the CPI(M) since he was expelled from the party after he refused to accept the party fiat of resigning as the Speaker ahead of the trust vote secured by the UPA government in July on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal.

However, parliamentary affairs minister Vayalar Ravi termed the CPI(M) criticism very unfortunate.

It is very unfortunate that political rivalry has come into parliamentary functioning. This is not a healthy parliamentary practice, Ravi told reporters separately.

Acharia, meanwhile, pointed out that the Speaker had not yet given his ruling on the party's privilege notice against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which it had submitted earlier this week in which it has charged him with misleading the House on Indo-US nuclear deal.