Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday refused to revoke the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs, even as Union minister Piyush Goyal asked the suspended members to apologise to the country, the House, and the chair over their conduct.
Naidu on Tuesday said that the MPs concerned have not expressed remorse for their actions, and have on the contrary tried to justify the same. The suspended MPs are: Elamaram Kareem (CPM), Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, R. Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of the Congress, Binoy Viswam of CPI, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri of Trinamool Congress, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai of Shiv Sena.
On Monday, the 12 MPs were suspended for “unruly and violent behaviour” they had demonstrated during the monsoon session of Parliament. A motion for their suspension for the remainder of winter session was moved by parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi on Tuesday and passed by the upper house.
The suspension notice read, “That this House takes cognisance and strongly condemns the utter disregard to the authority of the Chair, complete abuse of rules of the House persistently thereby wilfully obstructing the business of House through their unprecedented acts of misconduct, contemptuous, unruly and violent behaviour and intentional attacks on security personnel on the last day of 254th Session of Rajya Sabha (Monsoon Session) i.e, August 11 thereby lowering the dignity of and bringing disrepute to the august House by the following members and resolves, for above compelling reasons, to suspend these members from the service of the House for the remainder of the 255th session under rule 256 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Rajya Sabha.”
Leaders of various Opposition parties will meet on Wednesday at 10 am in the office of the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to chalk out the strategy for the ongoing winter session of the Parliament. The leaders of Opposition met at Kharge’s office twice today over the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs. Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Tuesday said that the party is not going to apologize and the suspended TMC MPs Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri will stage a sit-in demonstration in front of Gandhi statue from Wednesday till the end of the winter session.
Mallikarjun Kharge, speaking in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, argued that proper rules were not adhered to in suspending the 12 MPs, and demanded revocation of the same. However, Chairman Naidu refused, saying that the suspended members have not expressed remorse for their actions. He drew attention to what some of the members told media vis-à-vis their suspension.
Opposition MPs staged walkouts from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha after Naidu rejected revocation of the suspension of 12 Opposition MPs. Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said the Opposition MPs will not “apologize” as they were raising people’s issues in Parliament. “Why apologize? To raise people’s issues in Parliament? No, not at all!” tweeted Rahul Gandhi. The Opposition leaders held a protest at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament. “We have boycotted the Lok Sabha proceedings for the remaining day in protest against the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs,” Congress general secretary K.C. Venugopal said. Soon after the House assembled for the day, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge read a submission requesting the Rajya Sabha Chairman to revoke the suspension of 12 MPs from the House for the entire winter session.
In his submission, Kharge said: “I request you to revoke the suspension of 12 members of the House.” Kharge also pointed out that he was not allowed to raise a point of order and it is a gross violation of the rule. He also said that the members should be named before issuing suspension orders against them.
However, the Chairman denied revoking the suspension, saying the House named all members on 10 August and requested them to help in the functioning of the House but they ransacked the House. The Chairman said even the Deputy Chairman also took the names of the members. “This is not the way. You ransacked the House and now you are teaching me a lesson. I cannot revoke the suspension of the members. The bitter experience of the last monsoon session still continues to haunt most of us. I was expecting and waiting for the leading lights of the House to take lead in expressing outrage over what happened in the last session,” said Naidu during the discussion in the Upper House. “Such assurance would have helped me in handling the matter appropriately but unfortunately it will not be,” he added.
In an attempt to end the deadlock between the government and Opposition, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla called a meeting of Floor leaders of all parties on Tuesday. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, T.R. Baalu, Kalyan Banerjee, P.V. Midhun Reddy, Rajiv Ranjan Singh, Supriya Sule Anupriya Patel, E.T. Mohammed Basheer, Anubhav Mohanty, Gaurav Gogai, N.K. Premchandran, were among the leaders who attended the meeting.
The government on Tuesday defended the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs for indiscipline citing repeated instances of unruly conduct during the Parliament’s monsoon session, which tarnished the image of the Upper House. Union minister Piyush Goyal asked the suspended members to apologise to the country, the House, and the chair over their conduct.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha, Goyal recounted instances of bad behaviour by the Opposition lawmakers during the Monsoon Session. He added they did not allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi to introduce new members of his Cabinet in the House, attacked marshals, climbed on the table, snatched, tore and threw papers, hooted and whistled and disrespected the chair.
“I want to bring your attention to the last day of the monsoon session. …some MPs attacked women marshals, some attacked male marshals. They stood firm. We shudder to think what could have happened to the chair.” “The Opposition had no regard for a large number of women, a minister from the Northeast and Adivasis who were inducted…The Opposition could not digest that.”
He said the country witnessed how badly the opposition MPs behaved when minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was speaking in the House during the Monsoon Session and snatched papers. He praised the Parliament staff for showing patience and restraint in dealing with the unruly members.
“I want to congratulate the Parliament officials who bore the brunt of such an attack. But when one member almost attacked the chair, there was no choice but to suspend for a day.”