With the Congress protests led by party chief Sonia and vice-president Rahul Gandhi entering the third day, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan for the first time defended her decision to suspend 25 Congress MPs.
Mahajan pointed out that it was not the first time MPs had been suspended for not adhering to House rules. “Neither have I got any proposal from anyone to revoke the suspensions nor has anyone approached me till date. I can’t take any suo motu decision,” she said.
When pointed out that some other parties had also joined the boycott, Mahajan said, “I haven’t asked everybody to go out, they have gone on their own.” She also pointed out that not all opposition parties have boycotted the Lok Sabha. “The BJD and AIADMK are participating in the House proceedings,” she said.
Mahajan described how she tried to talk to the Opposition through all-party meetings and in internal meetings. The Speaker also ruled out that she had come to the House on August 3 determined to take action against the MPs. She said, “I have given them enough chances. But, finally, I had no other option.”
Mahajan also refuted charges that protest scenes were not shown on Lok Sabha TV, saying the decision to not show the disruption scenes had been taken in 2010. Meanwhile, the Congress continued the attack against the NDA government. Rahul alleged that the Opposition’s voice was “being suppressed in parliament”.
On August 3, Mahajan had suspended 25 Congress MPs for “willfully obstructing the business of the House”. The suspension will be over by Monday and the party is set to continue its protests in the last week of the session.
The Congress also found support from the JD(U) and RJD on Thursday that joined the protests. On Wednesday, representatives from the Left parties expressed solidarity and joined the protests as well. JDU president Sharad Yadav urged the Lok Sabha speaker to lift the suspension of the Congress MPs.
(with PTI inputs)