Lok Sabha divided over Cong MPs' suspension

Lok Sabha divided over Cong MPs' suspension

The suspension of 25 Congress MPs echoed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, with two members requesting Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to have a second look at the punishment.

The Speaker, however, appeared disinclined to entertain the mediation.

The Congress on Tuesday boycotted the House. Following suit were the other Opposition parties — the SP, the TMC, the JD-U, the RJD, the NCP, the Left parties, the AAP and the Indian Muslim League.

During Zero Hour, BJD MP Tathagata Satpathy raised the issue of flooding in his state, Odisha, and rued the Centre's lack of support despite several districts being affected.

Towards the end of his statement, he pleaded for a “decrease in punishment” of the Congress MPs, who have been suspended for five working days. He also argued that “in parliamentary democracy, the Opposition is a part of the process. So, no government business should take place without the presence of the Opposition”.   However, the Speaker refused to entertain his request on the grounds that this issue cannot be raised during Zero Hour. Incidentally, Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik said in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday that he strongly disapproved of the manner in which the Congress was disrupting Parliament proceedings.

Earlier, AIADMK leader P Venugopal attempted to raise the issue, but Mahajan did not allow it on the same grounds. She also told the House she thought he wanted to raise the issue of fishermen.

Other than the NDA parties, the BJD, the AIADMK, the YSR Congress and the TRS attended the Lok Sabha.

Mahajan kept trying to rein in agitating members from the YSR Congress and the TRS, who were demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh and a separate high court for Telangana, respectively.

She let them raise their issues only after they returned to their seats.

“The decision was incorrect,” SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav told reporters outside Parliament.

BSP chief Mayawati, too, told reports she was of the view that the Congress MPs' suspension should be reviewed.

BJP slams Cong

Meanwhile, the BJP condemned the Congress’  “obstructionist strategy”, saying the Opposition party’s negative tactics have dangerous implications for people's aspirations and the NDA government's efforts “to build a resurgent India”.

The BJP parliamentary party, at its meeting on Tuesday, passed a resolution strongly condemning “such narrow-minded, partisan, obstructionist and anti-development approach”, which would have “serious and long-term adverse consequences for the country”.

“It is ironic that the Congress, which stifled democracy through imposition of Emergency in 1975 and snatched citizens' liberty and freedom, has the audacity to say so.  The BJP also recalls several instances when the Congress, while in power, was party to the suspension of a large number of MPs,”  it said. 

It cited the instance of March 15, 1989, when 63 Opposition members were suspended for demanding tabling of the Justice Thakkar Commission report on the ex-prime minister Indira Gandhi's assassination.

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