It is said that some politicians change their party for their principles but most change their principles for their party. On the day of the Trust Vote, we got to see a bit of both. But in a rare instance Somnath Chatterjee decided to go with his principles and not his party.
On the most awaited day in Indian politics, when the Trust vote was to be held in Parliament in order to determine whether the UPA still had the majority in the House, another act took the glitter away from the UPA win. In an unprecedented incident, lakhs of rupees were shown in parliament. The parliament stands as the temple of democracy and such an act being committed in the parliament is certainly very shameful for the entire democracy.
There were some who chose to abstain from voting raising speculations about their loyalty to their party and encouraging rumours that money might have exchanges hands. It is now not difficult to imagine as to why India is ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in the World. The charges against Samajwadi Party and Amar Singh might never be proved but the incident did open the eyes of millions of Indians watching the proceedings live on national TV and it went on to confirm the fact that Indian politics does have a gory underbelly which the average citizen might not be aware of.
But amidst all the fracas, one man who stood his own in the Parliament that day was the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. He might have been expelled from his party but his neutral attitude in dealing with the entire issue will be remembered for a long time. His sense of humour helps him to maintain calm in the House where all hell could have broken lose.
The CPI(M) would have believed that they had the Speaker on his side since he was from their party, but Somnath Chatterjee preferred to act neutral at all times during the Indo-US nuclear deal fracas in the Parliament even when on the day when the Trust vote was to be held. He did the Speakers jobs so neutrally, that many now accuse him of being on the side of the Congress.
The Speaker was right in adjourning the Parliament after the BJP MLAs flashed money in the Parliament. It was the right decision to take at that point of time so that the order of the Parliament could be maintained. Once the Parliamentary session would go on to continue, he let many speakers from several regional parties talk about their issues. This was very cleverly done in order to delay the Prime ministers reply. If the Prime minister would have spoken immediately after the commencement of the Parliamentary session at 6pm in the evening, the Parliament would again have broken into chaos. Speakers like Omar Abdullah left a standing impression after their speech. Even when the Prime minister was not allowed to speak during the Parliament, the speaker went on to collect his reply in written form.
Even during the voting session, when the electronic voting did not do too well or maybe the members were not well equipped with handling the electronic machines, he maintained calm. Even though it took an excruciating hour to count the remaining votes, the Parliament was still maintained in order by the Speaker.
It is said the Speaker’s role is above that of any member of the House of the Parliament and Somnath Chatterjee played that role to perfection. Even after being expelled from his party for going against the rules of the party, Somnath Chatterjee can be remembered for not letting the parliament and the entire nation down.