No indiscipline,Speaker tells MPs after Lok Sabha uproar
Hours after the 17th Lok Sabha was forced to adjourn for the first time over the political developments in Maharashtra, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla told opposition leaders that he would not brook any indiscipline in the House and warned that he would act against disruptive MPs, Parliament officials and lawmakers said on Monday.
After the House was adjourned, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders met Birla and alleged that two women MPs – Jothimani and Ramya Haridas – were manhandled. The two women MPs also filed complaints to the effect with the Speaker. Gandhi also expressed her unhappiness over the way security personnel acting as Marshals tried to evict MPs.
According to the officials, Opposition lawmakers reasoned that this wasn’t the first time MPs had trooped into the well of the house or carried placards and banners.
Birla, however, insisted that just because members had behaved in a particular manner in the past did not mean that they could do so again. “In my House, I will not tolerate any indiscipline. And next time, I will be tougher with such disruptions,” he said, according to people present at the brief interaction.
Congress floor leader Adhir Chowdhury said, “When House is in session, it is quite natural that opposition parties will raise this issue and try to draw the attention of this House, but today what we have experienced has never been experienced inside Parliament.”
Later, during a leaders’ meeting in the evening, Birla said if MPs are unhappy with his style of functioning, then he will not come in the House and run it by panel of chairpersons. All leaders reposed their faith in Birla and asked him to ignore Monday’s incident.
On Monday morning, some Congress MPs stormed the well of the house to protest against the situation in Maharashtra (where, on Saturday, the governor accepted the BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and the NCP’s Ajit Pawar had the numbers to form the government, only for a majority of the NCP to clarify later that they were not with Ajit Pawar; the matter is before the supreme Court now), carrying banners and chanting slogans.
Birla repeatedly asked them to go back to their seats and take down the banners. He also named two Congress MPs, TN Prathapan and Hibi Eden, and told them to leave the House. But with the MPs remaining defiant, the Speaker called the house marshals to remove them.
While the Congress leaders later complained that the marshals who were pushing MPs back from near the well and manhandled them, Birla stood firmly behind the marshals and retorted that they were only obeying his orders.
The House began with the Speaker calling out the name of Congress MP Rahul Gandhi who had a question listed for an oral answer seeking “details of assistance released under the special central assistance to tribal sub-scheme, state-wise”. But Rahul Gandhi was in no mood to stick to script. “I wanted to ask a question in the House but it doesn’t make any sense to ask a question right now as democracy has been murdered in this country,” he said, as his party members shouted slogans and showed banners for almost 20 minutes before the House was adjourned. The House reconvened at 12, only to be adjourned for the day.
The Lok Sabha’s previous session broke several records in terms of the passage of bills, hours of operation, and other such. Birla earned praise from both the Opposition and the treasury benches for his deft handling of the house. But on Monday, the Maharashtra situation led to this House’s first adjournment.