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Somnath issue likely to crop up at CPI(M) meet

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Meanwhile, party sources indicate that Chatterjee might resign both from the Speaker's chair and Lok Sabha membership after July 22, if the government wins the trust vote.

A number of Central Committee members, especially from West Bengal, are geared up to ask the party to show flexibility towards Chatterjee to avoid an embarrassing showdown. Chatterjee has made it clear that he does not want to quit the post before the trust vote on July 22.

Publicly, the party maintains that it will not enforce any decision and allow Chatterjee to take a call at his will. However, and some other Politburo members want Chatterjee to quit and vote against the government on July 22.

Many Central Committee members want to strike a balance between the two extreme positions. To avoid any open confrontation, the CC will not take up any resolution in this matter. "There won't be any formal stand on this issue. However, when we sit to discuss the current political scenario, anyone can rake up the issue of the Speaker's role," a senior CC member told Business Standard.

Ahead of the crucial meeting, senior leaders are also pointing out Chatterjee's sacrifices and contributions for the party. "He is perhaps the only lawyer in our party who has never charged a single paisa for fighting legal cases for the party. Chatterjee was offered a judgeship in the Supreme Court, but he rejected the offer to work for the CPI(M). For the last so many years, he has stopped practising as an advocate and lost crores. The central leadership must not forget these facts," said a CC member.

Many feel, if pushed further, Chatterjee might even resign from the party's membership and that would be a major embarrassment for the CPI(M). While some members want to strike a balance on this issue, the Central Committee is likely to endorse Karat's stand to vote against the government alongside the BJP.

"Nuclear deal and India's strategic alliance with the US is not BJP's issue. It is our issue. After opposing the Indo-US deal for the last two years if we don't vote now, people will call us hypocrites," said Hannan Mollah, a member of the Central Committee.

First Published: Sat, July 19 2008. 00:00 IST