Pressure mounts on Somnath Chatterjee to quit

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New Delhi, July 13: Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is expected to call on veteran CPI(M) leader Jyoti Basu on Sunday, July 13 to hold talks on the issue of quitting the Constitutional post.

Earlier, Jyoti Basu was urged by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) to convince Somnath Chatterjee to resign from the post of Speaker of the Lok Sabha. Reportedly, Politburo members Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Nirupam Sen had called on Basu at his home in Kolkata on Friday evening and urged him to ask Chatterjee to quit.This is said to be done at the prompting of CPM general secretary Prakash Karat himself.

On the other hand, Chatterjee has so far indicated his desire to continue as Speaker even after the Left's withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).This resulted in some unease within the Left as his name also figures in the list submitted by Karat to the President Pratibha Devisingh Patil of the MPs withdrawing support to the UPA.

As Basu is considered Chatterjee's mentor and his intervention could alter the Speaker's decision.

According to reports, at Friday's meeting, Basu had voiced his reservations about the Left voting with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against the UPA in the trust vote.

But this is not confirmed yet, the Left is looking for alternative strategies on the floor of Parliament to avoid such a situation.

However, after a CPM parliamentary party meeting on Saturday, party MP Basudeb Acharya denied reports of a divided house.


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