New Delhi, July 22 : Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee earned the praise of all parliamentarians across the Indian political spectrum for the way he conducted proceedings in the Lower House during its two-day special session on July 21 and 22.
Already under considerable pressure from his Communist Party of India (Marxist) to quit the post ahead of the vote of confidence sought by the UPA Government, Chatterjee chose to stick to the Constitutional norm of being above political consideration or fealty, and conduct the proceedings in an impartial manner.
During the two days, he was seen guiding members through their paces in the Lower House, allowing every party and its members to speak their mind on the confidence vote and the pros and cons of the civilian nuclear cooperation deal between India and the United States.
When the debate got out of hand, Chatterjee did not hesitate to express his anguish and disgust at the behaviour of the MPs, and was firm in his warnings up to the last moment. He even told the House that its members needed to go back to the electorate and see what they thought of their behaviour.
He said that there was a complete absence of order and discipline and a blatant disregard of the rules and regulations governing proceedings in the House.
When the alleged cash for vote scam surfaced on Tuesday, Chatterjee did not hesitate to adjourn the proceedings and immediately called for an all-party meeting to discuss the issue.
It was then decided that the debate would continue for about 30-minutes, following which the Prime Minister would speak, and thereafter the vote count, would take place.
Sadly, sticking to the script was not maintained, but there was no doubt in anyone's mind that Chatterjee's credibility, as a veteran Member of Parliament and Speaker remained unscathed.