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Somnath denies Karat’s charge

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Wednesday refuted the charge made by Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat that he had political motive in remaining in the office of Speaker during the trust vote in July 2008.

Mr. Chatterjee said: “He, surprisingly, imputed certain alleged motives to me for upholding the sanctity of the Office of speaker, due to my supposed personal interest, which I strongly deny.”

He said he did not wish to make any further comment now in view of the election campaign.

“However, I reserve my right to deal with the same later at an appropriate time.”

The controversy arose after Mr. Chatterjee said in an interview that he had advised the CPI(M) — before his expulsion from the party — that it was a mistake to withdraw support to the Manmohan Singh government on the nuclear deal.

In response , Mr. Karat said that Mr. Chatterjee had “exposed” his “pro-Congress” stand and that “his support to the Congress-led government and his continuance as Speaker [despite being asked by the CPI(M) to step down] were interconnected.”

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