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Saugata’s Caesar ‘scissored’

New Delhi, Nov. 27: Trinamul MP Saugata Roy today alleged that the Speaker-approved statement he read out in the Lok Sabha explaining his resignation from the Union ministry was “severely edited”, with references to “anti-people” policies, corruption and the Prime Minister getting deleted.

“My statement was severely edited and revised. I never knew that the Speaker was so sensitive to allegations against the government,” Roy, who was junior urban development minister, told reporters outside Parliament after the speech.

Rule 199 of the Lok Sabha allows an outgoing minister to make a statement in Parliament explaining the reasons for his/her resignation. The text of the speech has to be submitted to the Speaker in advance and it can be read out only after his/her approval. The Speaker has the right to edit the speech to avoid unsavoury references to the government and the Prime Minister.

While reading out the statement in the afternoon session, Roy tried to deviate from the one approved by Speaker Meira Kumar but he was asked sternly by the Chair not to do so as nothing beyond the endorsed speech would be recorded. The Congress’s P.C. Chacko was officiating as Speaker in Kumar’s absence.

Roy, who was handed the approved speech today, abided by the instructions but later lamented outside the House that he was “not allowed to express my sentiments”.

He said the portion of the speech where he referred to the diesel price hike and the LPG subsidy was edited and “made bland”, with words like “anti-people” being cut out.

“The government of India took the unilateral decision to increase the price of diesel by Rs 5. It was also decided by the government to limit the number of subsidised cylinders per family to six a year…. As these decisions put a big load on the middle and lower middle class, our party protested and withdrew support from the UPA government,” Roy read out in Parliament.

Among the portions “deleted”, Roy claimed, was a sentence he borrowed from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar while referring to the Prime Minister. “I had concluded my original speech by saying ‘Not that I loved the Prime Minister less but I loved India and its people more’,” he said. “This conclusion was deleted. I don’t know why as it did not cast any aspersion on the Prime Minister,” Roy said later.

The Trinamul MP claimed he had written in the original speech about Mamata Banerjee’s 72-hour deadline to the Centre to withdraw the decision to allow FDI in retail.

“I had mentioned that my party pulled out of the government after it did not receive any word from the Centre, but this too was deleted,” Roy said.

Roy claimed that references to the alleged coal block allocation scandal and the Commonwealth Games and 2G “scams” were deleted.

“I had mentioned that Trinamul had quit the government as it did not want its image to be tarnished because of the scams. But all these references were removed,” he said.