12 Rajya Sabha MPs suspended

With both houses of Parliament being adjourned sine die a day before schedule, the Congress and Trinamool Congress (TMC), two opposition powerhouses, on Wednesday alleged that the government had suspended 12 MPs to “manufacture” a majority in the House for quick passage of legislations.

Both parties refused to take responsibility for the logjam in Parliament.

As proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, which witnessed maximum disruptions over the suspensions of opposition lawmakers, were concluded for the season, the Congress, for the first time, revealed that it was ready to read a statement to express regret over the behaviour of the suspended MPs in the last session and end the logjam.

“We came prepared to raise issues such as unemployment, inflation and Chinese aggression. But the government was not eager to discuss any issue. We were 120 MPs, they were 118. They wanted to manufacture a majority and the suspension was part of the government’s plan,” leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters here.

“It’s wrong to say that Opposition parties did not run the house. As soon as we said something, they would adjourn the House. The chairman adjourned Rajya Sabha due to government pressure,” he added.

Speaking on the row over the suspension of the MPs, Kharge said: “I said that whatever happened, it was done. On the same day (November 29, when the MPs were suspended) I was ready to read a statement to express regret on behalf of everyone. Why should we increase the problem? …despite our best efforts, they (the government) did not listen to us.”

HT on December 18 reported how the Congress had prepared a draft statement, containing the phrase “regrettable incidents”, to be read out by Kharge in the House.

Speaking on similar lines, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said: “I personally met the Chairman, leader of the house Piyush Goyal, and Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi. Kharge told Goyal on the evening of November 29 and on the morning of November 30 that if you want, I will stand up as LOP and say that what happened in the monsoon session is a matter of regret…”

Congress’ Lok Sabha floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged that the Opposition was not allowed to speak on the Lakhimpur Kheri violence among other issues. “As soon as they heard L of Lakhimpur, our microphone would be turned off,” he said, accusing the government of trying to be “Bahubali of bahumat”.

Chowdhury emphasised that the Opposition came to Parliament with a clear intent to allow the house to run and discuss issues such as the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and demand the resignation of junior minister for home affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra, whose son has been accused of running over farmers. Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the October incident.

TMC’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien, who was suspended on Tuesday for hurling a rule book at the chair pointed how the Opposition’s planned protest lasted the entire season.

“While we maintained distance with the Congress, we coordinated through CPIM, DMK and Shiv Sena,” he said.

O’Brien was referring to the growing distance between the Congress and TMC, especially after the latter poached several lawmakers and senior leaders from the former in the past few months.

The TMC leader said the winter session set “a very good example of Opposition fighting for democracy against the BJP”.

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