The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Speaker quit threat in Samata squabble

Ranchi, Dec. 27: The low-intensity conflict between the Samata Party and Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari snowballed today with the Opposition charging parliamentary affairs minister Ramchandra Kesri with “demeaning” the Chair.

Crisis gripped the House with Namdhari ordering an adjournment and deputy Speaker Bagun Sumbrai suspending the deliberations as rumours flew that the Speaker had, at one point of time, even “made up his mind” to resign from the post.

On the first day of the current session, Kesri had charged the Speaker with adopting a “partisan” approach towards the Samata Party while allotting time on the floor. Kesri had even accused Namdhari of “playing politics” on the matter. The parliamentary affairs minister made the charge when the House was making obituary references.

Trouble erupted today soon after the House assembled with leader of the Opposition Stephen Marandi raising the issue. A perturbed Namdhari suggested the issue be ignored. But the Opposition members continued with their protest and demanded that an “appropriate” decision be taken on the matter.

Chief minister Babulal Marandi was not present in the House. Kesri got up to speak but his voice could not be heard in the din. Since the Opposition mounted its protest, Namdhari briefly adjourned the proceedings. When the House reassembled, the Speaker did not take the Chair, which was now occupied by his deputy. The Opposition members again raised the issue, demanding action against Kesri.

Chaos broke out and Sumbrai had to order another adjournment, this time of a longer duration. It was after the second adjournment that rumours started swirling that Namdhari was thinking of quitting.

Smoking ban

In the evening, the Assembly passed the anti-smoking legislation, banning smoking in public places in the state. The Opposition said it would have been better to cut down the sale of tobacco items.

, rather than handing over to the authorities a legislation, which is highly susceptible to misuse.

Health minister Dinesh Sarangi moved the Bill, saying it was important to adopt it in the light of the Supreme Court’s “deadline” of December 31.

The Opposition members said it would have been better to cut down the sale of tobacco items, rather than handing over to the authorities a legislation, which is highly susceptible to misuse.

CPI(M-L) member Mahendra Prasad Singh said the fact that the chief minister was present in the House when Kesri made the “disparaging” comments, proved that he had the support of the leader of the House.

“It is not the Speaker who should quit but the parliamentary affairs minister who has often raised the tempers in the House because of his remarks,” Singh said.

By then, news of the trouble had been passed on to the chief minister who rushed to the Assembly. Sources said Marandi held elaborate discussions with the Speaker and requested him against taking any extreme step.

The adjournment went on for almost an hour and when the House reassembled for the third time, Namdhari was in the Chair. This time, he did not take up the contentious issue and the Opposition, too, let it be. Sources said a “compromise” had been reached but details were not available.

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