People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 36

September 06, 2009

A Rejoinder to Somnath Chatterjee�s Charge


By Our Commentator

SOMNATH Chatterjee, the former speaker of the Lok Sabha has alleged in an interview that the Left had some foreknowledge that the �cash for trust vote� scam would come up in parliament. He also seems to insinuate that there was some coordination between the BJP and the Left in this matter.

It has become the practice of Somnath Chatterjee to level baseless charges against the CPI(M) and the Left ever since he decided to cross over to the government side after the Left withdrew support to the UPA government.

As for the cash for vote scam, the real �despicable attempt� was the large scale bribery using illegal money by the agents of the ruling party to save its government. Hundreds of crores of rupees were spent to purchase MPs belonging to the opposition. 19 MPs belonging to the opposition defected to the ruling side.

Somnath Chatterjee should have been worried about this brazen suborning of MPs and the farce it made of democratic norms. But strangely he has remained quiet about this assault on the dignity and values of parliamentary democracy while he was the speaker. He limits his expression of outrage to the production of cash inside the House by some MPs. Surely, the former honorable speaker remembers,  when he was the leader of the CPI (M) group in the Lok Sabha in 1993, how the Narasimha Rao government bought up some opposition MPs to defeat the no-confidence vote. He had strongly condemned these illegal acts and demanded action - a case in which the former prime minister had to face trial.

The cash for vote operations were known to the entire city of Delhi and the political circles. The leaders of the Left parties along with the other non-NDA opposition parties had condemned these bribery attempts in a press conference before the trust vote. Some of the MPs approached for this said so publicly. Why did the then speaker not speak out against these immoral and criminal acts? He should have demanded a police investigation into the whole business of bribery of MPs.

The committee set up to investigate the affair of the cash produced in the House had recommended further investigation in the matter to pin down those responsible for wrong doing.  One would have thought the speaker would have asked for a CBI enquiry into the matter. But then that would have been very inconvenient for the powers that be.