Somnath: no more politics,but still a Communist

The outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker,Somnath Chatterjee,on Friday said “he remains a Communist” and that “Communism is not anybody’s monopoly”.....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:February 28, 2009 11:50 pm

The outgoing Lok Sabha Speaker,Somnath Chatterjee,on Friday said “he remains a Communist” and that “Communism is not anybody’s monopoly”. Addressing a press conference a day after presiding over the last session of the 14th Lok Sabha,Chatterjee reiterated that he would not join politics and would take “sanyas” (retirement). He also described former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a “great human being”.

Asked whether he still considers himself a “comrade” after the CPI(M) expelled him,Somnath said: “I am a Communist. Communism is not anybody’s monopoly.”

Asked if he would contest elections,he replied: “I had said that I would not contest any election. I

am selecting a place to stay

after retirement.”

Speaking about his experiences as the Lok Sabha Speaker,he said he was unhappy over the frequent disruptions of the House but said despite these aberrations the House had been doing its duty.

Calling Vajpayee a “great human being”,Somnath said Vajpayee came to his residence a day after the NDA chairperson wrote a letter saying that “Chatterjee was biased and that his conduct was not up to the mark”.

The Speaker was preparing his resignation letter when other leaders called on him saying “they too had elected him and (that he must not quit)”. Vajpayee,too,told him that he held the Speaker in high regard. “Vajpayee is a great human being. He came to my house and said I have regards for you,” he said.

The Speaker also disagreed with L K Advani’s suggestion that the Constitution should be amended so that it becomes mandatory for the Prime Minister to be a Lok Sabha member. “Theoretically,it may be better,but in practice it has no effect. The ability of a Prime Minister depends on himself and the policies and programmes he espouses,” Chatterjee said,adding that “as we have seen,you can judge how he (in an apparent reference to Singh) has performed”.

He also expressed unhappiness over the fact that a Bill to reserve one-third of seats in Parliament and state legislatures for women could not be passed during his tenure.

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