Suspended MPs to hold dharna till Winter Session ends

Suspended MPs to hold dharna in Parliament till Winter Session ends

12 MPs were suspended for the entire Winter Session for 'misconduct, contemptuous, unruly and violent behaviour' on the last day of the previous Session

Opposition leaders protest near Mahatma Gandhi's statue over suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs during the Winter Session of Parliament. Credit: PTI Photo

Twelve suspended MPs, including two Trinamool MPs, will sit on a dharna in Parliament House from Tuesday till the end of the Winter Session or their suspension is revoked, as Opposition leaders junked the idea of boycotting the entire session and instead decided to walk out for the day in Rajya Sabha and held a protest near Gandhi Statue.

The decision to hold sit-in protests from Tuesday was taken at the second meeting chaired by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge during the day with Opposition leaders. Trinamool Congress announced their protest separately but said they would sit with other suspended MPs.

Sources said there are also suggestions to make suspended MPs, barring Trinamool lawmakers, to write to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu highlighting the "glaring procedural violations" and the "selective" approach.

Read | MPs' suspension: Opposition MPs walk out of Parliament

Twelve MPs -- Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh (Congress), Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai (Shiv Sena), Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri (Trinamool Congress), Elamaram Kareem (CPI-M) and Binoy Viswam (CPI) -- were suspended for the entire Winter Session on Monday for "unprecedented acts of misconduct, contemptuous, unruly and violent behaviour" on the last day of the previous Session.

The run up to the walk-out came after the first meeting chaired by Kharge in which 16 parties -- Congress, DMK, RJD, Shiv Sena, NCP, CPI, Muslim League, LJD, MDMK, National Conference, RSP, TRS, AAP, Kerala Congress and VCK -- attended. Trinamool Congress did not attend the meeting.

In the meeting, sources said, some of the Opposition leaders, including from Congress and DMK, suggested boycott but top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and others were against the idea of a boycott as that would lead to giving the government a handle. Rahul, sources said, told the meeting that parties need to come together in the larger interest of the country though they all have differences.

Read | Can't forgive suspended MPs without an apology: Goyal

Differences in states should not stop us from finding a common platform in Parliament, sources said quoting Rahul. The former Congress chief also said the Opposition should keep doing something everyday to highlight issues and there should be "optics with content".

While the meeting decided to walk out in Rajya Sabha and not return to work for the day and Lok Sabha registering protest through walk out, a delegation led by Kharge met Naidu to urge him to revoke suspension. However, sources said, Naidu told them it may not be possible without proper functioning of the House and sincere regret by the suspended MPs for their misconduct.

While Trinamool Congress did not walk out with Congress and other Opposition parties, they joined the joint protest at Gandhi Statue. Kharge held the second meeting soon after the protest at Gandhi Statue in which leaders discussed the next course of action.

"Tomorrow also we will raise the issue inside the House at a higher decibel. Issues like whether to walk out or not will be taken tomorrow," a senior Opposition leader said.

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