Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s explusion from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, was a foregone conclusion. It demonstrates the scant respect the Left has for parliamentary conventions and propriety.
Chatterjee’s refusal to resign and vote along partisan lines in the recently concluded confidence motion was his undoing. In their heedless rush to oust the government, CPM bosses couldn’t be bothered for niceties such as the speaker being a non-partisan figure.
It is ironic that some of India’s greatest parliamentarians, such as Chatterjee and the late Indrajit Gupta, have come from the Left, parties whose leadership now rests with individuals who have little, if any, parliamentary experience — CPM general secretary Prakash Karat being an example.
In his non-partisan approach and impeccable parliamentary conduct, Chatterjee has lived up to the ideals of past speakers and those of his father, the late N.C. Chatterjee, a distinguished parliamentarian.