NEW DELHI: A day after seven MPs of the Congress were suspended for the remaining part of the Budget session, the Lok Sabha decided to form a committee under the chairmanship of Speaker Om Birla to look into the unruly behaviour of the members during March 3-5. The panel will closely look at the incidents of members almost coming to the blows on March 3, when Opposition MPs had crossed over into the treasury benches holding banners and placards. Birla has been keeping away from the House, apparently because he is miffed over the incidents.
On Friday, Opposition MPs raised the issue of “disproportionate” actions against the seven suspended Congress members. Leader of the Congress in the House Adhir Rajan Chowdhury argued that while other Opposition MPs, too, were in the well on Thursday, only his party colleagues were singled out. NCP’s Supriya Sule and DMK members demanded that the “disproportionate” action of suspending the seven MPs be revoked. “There wouldn’t have been a logjam in the House if the government had agreed for discussion on Delhi violence. I do not think Opposition is here only to criticise,” said Sule.
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi countered the Opposition’s allegation o “disproportionate” action, saying there had been precedents when the members were suspended for unruly behaviour, including when the UPA passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill. he urged the members to allow legislative business to be conducted. Chowdhury, in turn, claimed that the BJP as the main Opposition party had been instrumental in washout of whole sessions of Parliament in the past, but no action had been taken against any of its MPs.
Congress to reach out to other opposition parties
The Congress will reach out to other opposition parties to press for revocation of suspension of its seven MPs while it will continue to demand discussion on Delhi violence. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, along with party MPs, held a protest on Parliament premises on Friday. The MPs wore black armbands and accused the Centre of suppressing the voice of the opposition. “We will not be cowed down and continue to press for a discussion on Delhi violence,” said Gaurav Gogoi, one of the suspended MPs.
Mines and Mineral Laws Bill passed
Amid protests by Opposition MPs, the Lok Sabha on Friday passed the Mines and Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill. It proposes to remove end-use restrictions for participating in coal mine auctions and once enacted, will open up the coal sector fully for commercial mining for all domestic and global companies. It will also pave the way for auctioning of iron-ore mining leases which expire this month. The Bill was passed amid noisy scenes on Friday when the Lower House reassembled at 12 noon.
‘Hike allocation to gaganyaan project’
The Gaganyaan mission is a very prestigious national programme with global significance, but the budgetary allocation of RS 1,200 crore for it in 2020-21 does not reflect this importance, the parliamentary standing committee on Science & Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change has said. It has recommended that the allocation must be enhanced by another Rs 3,000 crore. The Union Cabinet has sanctioned Rs 10,000 crore for the Gaganyaan project.