A Congress member was suspended from the Lok Sabha for the day by speaker Sumitra Mahajan for insulting the chair after he banged a placard on her desk, though the House managed to get some work done for the first time in the monsoon session.
Trouble began for Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who represents West Bengal’s Berhampore in the Lok Sabha, when the House took up the Delhi high court (amendment) bill in the afternoon.
As his colleagues shouted slogans and displayed placards demanding the resignation of foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers, Chowdhury banged a placard as he tried to reach for the speaker’s desk crossing the well of the House. An angry speaker immediately adjourned the House for an hour.
When the Lok Sabha re-assembled, Congress’ leader of the House M Mallikarjuna Kharge said, “It is not our intention to insult anyone.”
Chowdhury even brought together archrivals CPM and Trinamool Congress (TMC). TMC’s Saugata Roy, stressing that he was not supporting Chowdhury’s action, asked the speaker not to single out the Congress leader. “Such an action would be vindictive”, he said. CPM’s Mohammed Salim said “a political answer should be found to solve political problems”.
Chowdhury, too, regretted his action, but Mahajan was not happy “with the spirit” in which the apology was tendered.
“The chair has been insulted. The incident has created serious bitterness. You don’t tender an apology with a sword in your hand,” Mahajan said, asking Chowdhury to leave the House.
She, however, managed to persuade BJP member Arjun Meghwal to withdraw a motion seeking the Congress MP’s suspension for the entire session.
Amid raucous protests by the Opposition, two bills were introduced in the Lok Sabha and another taken up for discussion.
The House saw members come together to condemn the terror strike in Gurdaspur.
After several earlier adjournments, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day a little after 4.30pm. The Rajya Sabha was adjourned earlier in the day after members paid homage to Biju Janata Dal’s Kalpataru Das and two former MPs who passed away recently.
The first week of the monsoon session was a washout, with Opposition sticking to its demand for resignation of Swaraj and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje for helping former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi get travel documents in UK. The Opposition is also gunning for Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan over a massive recruitment and admission scandal.
Outside the House, Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Deve Gowda said he was “ashamed” to sit in Parliament. “I do not want to go to Parliament till the issue of farmers is taken up,” said the former PM, who was on a fast at Jantar Mantar to highlight the government’s “neglect towards farmers”.