House should be shut indefinitely
February 20, 2009: The Indian Express & The Times of India
Furious over unruly MPs crippling business in the Lok Sabha, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Thursday said that they did not deserve any of the public money spent on them and that Parliament should be shut indefinitely.
“You do not deserve one paisa of public money," Chatterjee told the MPs as they rushed into the well, raising loud slogans against the Government on several issues. “I think Parliament should be adjourned sine die... public money should not be spent on useless allowances for you."
The Speaker, who has never minced words in criticising unruly MPs in the past, added: “You are behaving in the most condemnable manner... I express my greatest annoyance and condemnation." Chatterjee wished the people would give a “fit verdict" in the polls. He then adjourned the House for an hour.
The Speaker’s angry words came as members of the BSP, BJP, TDP, PMK, MDMK and RPI simultaneously raised slogans against the Government, though on different issues, during the Question Hour.
The BSP members, supported by the BJP, accused the UPA of having an “anti-Dalit" attitude, and alleged that the ruling coalition wanted to abolish reservations through the SC and ST (Reservation in Posts and Services) Bill, passed by the Rajya Sabha earlier. On the other hand, PMK and MDMK members demanded an end to the war in Sri Lanka. The TDP were agitated about the Satyam issue.
When the House re-assembled, members from the BSP, MDMK and the PMK resumed their protest. Chatterjee said the bill dealing with reservations was not listed and therefore, they could take it up later.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi stated that certain clauses of the bill (which had generated controversy) would be removed. But it was not enough to calm the BSP members, who walked out of the House.
I hope you all lose in polls, furious Somnath tells MPs
Somnath Chatterjee, known for his ‘‘headmasterly’’ approach as Lok Sabha Speaker, was at his harshest best on Thursday, telling a section of MPs that they did not deserve a ‘‘single paisa’’ of public money and that he wished they were defeated in the coming elections. Chatterjee’s outburst came as question hour was plunged into chaos by vociferous MPs across party lines demanding a hearing on diverse issues. Failing to persuade them to relent, he cursed, ‘‘I hope that all of you are defeated in the election. All of you should be defeated in the election. I hope you are identified by people.’’ He had to adjourn the question hour moments later. Later in the session, the Speaker threw up his hands, saying Parliament should be adjourned sine die to save people’s money. ‘‘You do not deserve one paisa of public money.’’
Speaker’s rebuke fails to scare unruly legislators
While disruption of proceedings has been the flashpoint between the Chair and the MPs during the entire 14th Lok Sabha, often leading to unprecedented barbs and some real pearls from an angry Chatterjee, Thursday’s drama appeared to have breached his known tolerance threshold, crucially when the Lok Sabha is meeting for one last time and the 10-term MP from West Bengal would be quitting politics for good.
On Thursday, MPs were more keen to make political points with their constituencies ahead of polls — BSP on the SC/ST reservation Bill, Dravidian outfits on the Tamil issue, TDP on the Satyam scam against Andhra Pradesh government.
As they did not heed the Speaker, Chatterjee appeared to have used the ‘‘pox on you’’ rebuke to try scaring the usually superstitious tribe into retreat. ‘‘I hope the people will give their verdict properly. You have to be taught a lesson.’’ But, all to no avail. Over around five years as arbiter, the Speaker’s admonition of disrupting MPs has been quite a sight, training the observers’ focus more sharply on wastage of time due to adjournments and unapproved interventions. The political parties have not really agreed to the Speaker’s wishes that rules be respected and that the question hour be spared, but Chatterjee has waged a relentless battle to impose discipline. Though popular as an MP, Chatterjee has evoked strong emotions from different corners in the House after occupying the Chair.
I hope that all of you are defeated in the election. I hope you are identified by the people. You don't deserve any allowances. I think this house should be adjourned sine die. This is the only way to save public money.
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