NEW DELHI: On Monday, the size of the placards carried by the Congress MP inside the Lok Sabha targeting the Modi government grew four times in size the ones they have been aggressively displaying since Monsoon session began last month. As the parliament entered into its ninth working day – half way through the 18-sitting session - without transacting any business and the all party meeting failing to resolve the deadlock, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan miffed at the continued disturbances by the Congress MPs took the “stringent action” she has been warning. Twenty Five of the 44 Congress MPs were suspended from the house for five working days.
Outside the house, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said it was “black day of Indian democracy” as the action was unprecedented given a large numbers of members were suspended. The government too had done its home work. It said 58 MPs were suspended at one time in 1989 for demanding that Thakkar Commission inquiry report into Indira Gandhi’s assassination be made public. In the past even leaders like Ram Manohar Lohia, Madhu Limaye had been suspended. The recent instance being in early 2013 when 12 Andhra MPs were suspended as they agitated on state’s bifurcation, government sources said.
However, the action to suspend Congress MPs seems to have united the opposition parties who were supporting the resumption of House. TMC, NCP RJD, JDU, Left parties decided to boycott the proceedings of the house for next five days. The NDA government, meanwhile, can hope to pass some of the Bills pending in the lower house.
The third week of session began with a hope of resumption, as government made an offer to the opposition saying Prime Minister would intervene in the debate. Speaker on Monday ran the house amidst the din, with the Congress MPs, along those from TRS who are demanding separate Telangana High Court. During the post lunch session, with six minutes to three, Mahajan entered the house as deputy speaker Thambidurai was holding the proceedings. Distressed at continued disturbances, and her appeals to Congress MPs to return to their seats drawing a blank, visibly agitated Speaker named 25 MPs present, almost all who have been shouting slogans since for session began on July 21.
Majahan read the list three times, before citing rule number 374-A to suspend B.N. Chandrappa, Santokh Singh Chaudhary, A.H. Khan Chowdhury, Sushmita Dev, R. Dhruvanarayana, Ninong Ering, Gaurav Gogoi, Gutha Sukender Reddy, Deepender Singh Hooda, Kodikunnil Suresh, Dr. Thokchom Meinya, S.P. Muddahanume Gowda, Abhijit Mukherjee, Mullappally Ramchandran, K.H. Muniyappa, B.V. Naik, Vincent H. Pala, M.K. Raghavan, Ranjeet Ranjan, C.L. Ruala, Tamradhwaj Sahu, Rajeev Satav, Ravneet Singh, D.K. Suresh, K.C. Venugopal.
“I am very disturbed. I am not in mental state to listen. I had called an all party meeting where I requested not to display posters or come into the well. They (Congress) have been saying that as they (BJP) had done in the past we would too. Should it go on or stop somewhere. There are 325 MPs who want to raise their issues,” Mahajan said as TMC MP Sudip Bandhopadhay tried to ask for leniency for the protesting MPs.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi, leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Kamal Nath were on the seats when Mahajan announced the decision, and adjourned the house for Tuesday.
TMC’s Sudip Bandopadhay tried to take plea of the Congress MPs saying that even though their party wanted the house to function they were against the suspension of the MPs. He warned that situation may worsen if MPs were suspended.
CPM MP Karunakaran too said when BJP was in opposition in 2010 they too had stalled the house for one month.
Kharge argued that BJP had started the tradition as they wanted resignation before starting any discussion. We had said same thing in all party meeting that take resignations and the house will function. Speaker decided otherwise.