19 Opposition MPs suspended till Friday after bedlam in Rajya Sabha

Chairperson Harivansh said the MPs were suspended for showing utter disregard to the House and the authority of the chair

Hyderabad: Nineteen Opposition MPs, including seven from the Trinamul Congress, six from the DMK and three from the TRS, were suspended on Tuesday from Rajya Sabha till Friday for “misconduct” and disrupting the proceedings.

Chairperson Harivansh said the MPs were suspended for showing “utter disregard” to the House and the authority of the chair. Four Congress members were suspended in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Opposition members have been demanding an urgent discussion on issues like price rise, GST hike and extension to food items, for many days. The Opposition is insisting that the discussions be held under Rule 267 under which the issue is taken up by suspending the listed business of the day.

Suspended Trinamul Congress MPs include Sushmita Dev, Mausam Noor, Shanta Chhetri, Dola Sen, Santanu Sen, Abir Ranjan Biswas and Nadimul Haque.

DMK’s M. Mohamed Abdulla, Kanimozhi N.V.N Somu, M. Shanmugam, S. Kalyanasundaram, R. Girirajan and N.R. Elango were also suspended, as also V. Sivadasan and A.A. Rahim (CPI-M) and Santhosh Kumar (CPI).

The TRS MPs have been disrupting the proceedings in the House since the monsoon session of Parliament commenced on July 18. They are trooping into the Well of the House along with other Opposition parties demanding an urgent discussion on rising prices of essential commodities and imposition of GST on milk and food items by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

The Rajya Sabha saw uproar by the Opposition after the suspension of its 19 members for the entire week for repeatedly disrupting proceedings, with the penalised MPs refusing to leave the House. There were four adjournments till 3.40 pm as the Opposition refused to relent and later the House was adjourned for the day without transacting much business.

Reacting to the suspension, the Trinamul Congress in a tweet said, “You can suspend us BUT YOU CANNOT SILENCE US! Deplorable situation – our Hon’ble MPs are trying to flag PEOPLE’S ISSUES but they are being suspended. For how long will this go on? The sanctity of Parliament stands heavily compromised.”

On being asked about the suspension, TMC MP Derek O’Brien said, “Modi and Shah have suspended democracy… What are you talking about, MPs?”

Speaking to the media, O’Brien added, “Democracy has been suspended in India. Parliament has been turned into a deep, dark chamber.”

While Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet, “With the suspension of Opposition MPs from both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, it is abundantly clear that Modi Sarkar is in no mood to allow the Opposition to raise REAL, URGENT issues being faced by the people of our country in Parliament.”

The ruling BJP said the decision to suspend 19 Opposition MPs from Rajya Sabha was taken with a “heavy heart” as they repeatedly obstructed its proceedings and ignored the Chair’s appeals to let the House function.

Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal asserted that it is not the government but the Opposition that is running away from a debate in Parliament. He said, “The government is ready for a debate on price rise once Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recovers and returns to parliament.”

India has tackled inflation and price rise better than many countries and the government is keen to inform Parliament about the important steps it has taken to handle price rise, Mr Goyal said.

He also hit out at Opposition parties for protesting against the imposition of the GST on several pre-labelled food items.

The Opposition members, including from the Congress, the Trinamul Congress and the Left, were part of the GST council that took the decision unanimously on introducing the fresh levy, he said.

The latest round of suspension comes a day after four Congress MPs in Lok Sabha were dealt with similar action for the entire Monsoon Session, ending August 12, for holding placards inside the house despite warnings from the Speaker Om Birla to behave.

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