Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary told the media his party would be reaching out to other Opposition parties for a joint protest.
New Delhi: Seven Congress MPs were on Thursday suspended from the Lok Sabha for the rest of the Budget Session for gross misconduct and violation of rules. The principal Opposition party was quick to term it as “undemocratic”, and said it would consult all other Opposition parties for a joint protest against the move.
The House has been seeing repeated disruptions since the beginning of the second half of the Budget Session on March 2, with the Opposition demanding a discussion on the Delhi riots and the government insisting that any such discussion be held only after Holi.
However, on Thursday, the Opposition agreed to a discussion on the coronavirus threat in the House in the morning. As soon as the House reassembled post-lunch, the Opposition again started demanding a discussion on the Delhi violence but the Chair pushed through passage of the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Congress members were in the Well seeking suspension of Hanuman Beniwal of the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, a regional outfit from Rajasthan backed by the BJP, who had made certain remarks against the Gandhi family.
Earlier, during Zero Hour, when MPs across party lines were speaking on the coronavirus outbreak after health minister Harsh Vardhan had read out a statement on the issue, Mr Beniwal, participating in the discussion, said there should be a probe on whether the coronavirus was being spread from the “home” of Congress president Sonia Gandhi as a large number of people who were found to be affected by the virus are from Italy. As of now, 14 Italians have tested positive for coronavirus in India.
BJP MP Rama Devi, who was in the Chair, adjourned the House till 3 pm, but before that Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi was seen throwing papers kept on the Lok Sabha Speaker’s podium. Soon after that, Rama Devi adjourned the House till 3 pm.
When the House reassembled at 3 pm, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi, who was presiding over the House, named seven Congress MPs — Gaurav Gogoi, T.N. Prathapan, Dean Kuriakose, Manicka Tagore, Rajmohan Unnithan, Benny Behanan and Gurjeet Singh Aujla.
Parliamentary affairs minister Prahlad Joshi then moved a motion to suspend the members from the House for the remaining period of the Budget Session, that was passed by a voice vote amid protests by the Opposition.
“That this House, having taken serious note of gross misconduct of these members’ utter disregard to the House and authority of the Chair and having been named by the Speaker, resolve that these members be suspended from the service of the House from the remainder of the session,” Mr Joshi said, reading out the motion.
Congress’ Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary told the media his party would be reaching out to other Opposition parties for a joint protest. “We will be talking with them over the phone and I think all the Opposition parties... we are in the same voice, none of the Opposition parties will allow this government, who are hell bent of throttling the voice of the Opposition parties. We wouldn’t budge from our own demand that the Delhi riot issue has to be discussed inside Parliament. It is our legitimate right, it is our moral duty, that is why we have been elected as members of Parliament, we have been elected by the people to raise the concern, apprehension of the common people of our country,” he said.
The Rajya Sabha too was adjourned for the day after a discussion on the coronavirus outbreak.