Cong backs Chair's decision to suspend seven unruly members

"The decision of the Chair was certainly rarest of the rare but the provocation too was rarest of the rare," party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters outside Parliament House.

Seven members belonging to SP, RJD, LJP and an unattached MP were suspended for their unruly behaviour in the House on Monday over the Women's Reservation Bill.

Singhvi said there were five adjournments yesterday and the decision to suspend them was taken with a "heavy heart".

"A small minority cannot take the country to ransom," the spokesman said, adding it was a matter of time before the Bill was passed in the House.

"The question is not if but when," he said, adding that from 1996 to today, the government was now closest to passing the Bill.

Asked about the threat of SP and RJD to withdraw support to the government if the Bill was passed in the present form, the Congress leader said the party was not dependent on such support.

"Even if we were dependent, we would not have desisted in getting the Bill passed due to national interest," Singhvi said. On a query as to when would the Bill be passed, he said a time-frame cannot be given and it could even happen today. "This is an idea which cannot be postponed indefinitely."

Meanwhile, AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi questioned the motive of the BJP in asserting that it will not vote on the Women's Reservation Bill in Rajya Sabha without a discussion on it.

He said the Bill has been discussed at various fora and asking for a discussion at this stage suggests that the intentions of the BJP is not clear. Dwivedi also questioned the opposition of the Samajwadi Party to the Bill in the birth centenary year of Ram Manohar Lohia, saying those who call themselves socialists are diverting from the basics tenets of Lohia.

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