Congress tells CPI(M) not to politicise Speaker's post

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New Delhi, July 16 (UNI) Amid the continuing uncertainty over the future of Mr Somnath Chatterjee as Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Congress today asked the CPI(M) to refrain from politicising the highest Constitutional post.

''We appeal to all concerned to refrain from politicising and diminishing the prestige of the high office of the Speaker,'' AICC Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told mediapersons.

Asked if the appeal was specifically to the CPI(M), she said this was obvious as it was the Marxist party which had submitted to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil a list including the name of Mr Chatterjee along with other MPs of the Left Parties who have withdrawn support to the government.

Complaining that the unfortunate attempts to politicise the office of the Speaker have resulted in an unsavoury and very public controversy, Ms Natarajan pointed out that the ''Speaker is elected by the entire Lok Saha and not by any individual party.'' In this context, she said "even if the Speaker is originally elected on a political party ticket, he thereafter rises above party affiliation and serves as Speaker of Lok Sabha in an absolutely non-partisan manner.'' She warned that the unfortunate controversy had the potential to create a dangerous precedent by which every dispute in Parliament and state legislatures would be preceded by the resigation of the Speaker in order to fulfil the agenda of his original party.

''This can only be a precursor to the destruction of Parliamentary democracy. Since the office of Speaker is politicised, no presiding officer can have a secure tenure.'' Showering encomiums on Mr Chatterjee, Ms Natarajan said he served with honour and distinction and conducted the proceedings of the House with grace, honour and impeccable commitment to the Constitution.

UNI SH RR RAI1847

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