NEW DELHI: Top opposition leaders on Wednesday sat on a dharna in Parliament complex and extended their support to the 12 suspended MPs of the Rajya Sabha.
Among the leaders who participated in the protest along with the 12 suspended members were Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh, K C Venugopal besides SP leader Akhilesh Yadav and AAP leader Sanjay Singh.
The MPs have been sitting in protest in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue against their suspension, which they term as undemocratic and against the rules of procedure of the Upper House.
Twelve Rajya Sabha MPs, including six of Congress, were suspended on the first day of the Winter Session on November 29 for the remainder of the session for their unruly behaviour during the last day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament in August.
The other members suspended are from the TMC, Left parties and Shiv Sena.
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned till 12 noon on Wednesday as Opposition members kept protesting for the revocation of suspension of 12 MPs, even as Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge offered to cooperate.
Soon after the business papers were laid in the Upper House and Zero Hour proceedings began, members of the opposition parties were up on their feet, demanding the revocation of the suspension of their fellow MPs.
Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu rejected a notice submitted by two members, including Congress leader Deepender Singh Hooda, for suspension of business so that a discussion on farmers' issue can take place in the House.
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said a proper notice for discussion on farmers' issues was given by Hooda as suggested by the Chair during a Question Hour the other day.
"Since we have not had a discussion even in the last session, I would request you to consider it. This is an issue which is discussed outside daily, and the House should also one day discuss it," Sharma said.
Responding, the Chair said, "If the House is allowed to function, then we can consider all these things," and continued with the Zero Hour proceedings.
Later, Kharge rose from his seat to speak.
"We are repeatedly requesting that our 12 members have been suspended from this House. They should be called back and suspension should be revoked," he said.
"This is illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional. I will prove it is wrong. We are ready to cooperate sir," Kharge added.
Upset over the disorder created in the House, the Chair said, "Disobeying the chair is undemocratic. Disturbing the House is undemocratic. You cannot be having this everyday. This is not the way. You are compounding the offence. What is this? You are not letting the House function for the last 10 days. This (protest) is not allowed."
Amid sloganeering and the protest, the Zero Hour proceedings continued and several members raised issues of public importance.
As slogan shouting intensified, the Chair pleaded with protesting members not to create an "awkward" situation and asked them to allow the Zero Hour to continue.
Naidu said the leader of the opposition and the leader of the House have been suggested to sit together and resolve the matter so that the House is allowed to function smoothly.
"Creating disorder, defending the undefendable and trying to force me for the action which I have not taken is not reasonable at all. You are not understanding in spite of me telling you," he said.
The chair further said the action against the suspended MPs was taken because "papers were torn, files were taken away, mikes were broken, people came to the table, entry was blocked to the chairman's row and marshals were attacked".
"And you say that (action of yours) is right and the action (of suspension) is wrong.
This is very wrong, and I am adjourning the House till 12 noon," he added.