Wave of suspensions in Parliament: Count hits 141 this session | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Wave of suspensions in Parliament: Count hits 141 this session

By, New Delhi
Dec 20, 2023 01:01 AM IST

The number is unprecedented, and far surpasses the 63 lawmakers who were suspended in 1989 during a debate on a report on Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

The Lok Sabha Speaker suspended 49 more Opposition members on Tuesday, a day after a record 78 parliamentarians from both houses were ordered out till at least the end of the Winter session, deepening the crisis in India’s Parliament where some crucial bills were tabled, briefly discussed, and sailed through.

Suspended MPs including Dimple Yadav, Danish Ali and others stage a protest at the Makar Dwar following the suspension of 92 MPs for the remainder of the ongoing winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Tuesday.(ANI)
Suspended MPs including Dimple Yadav, Danish Ali and others stage a protest at the Makar Dwar following the suspension of 92 MPs for the remainder of the ongoing winter session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Tuesday.(ANI)

With Tuesday’s 49, Monday’s 78, and the 14 last week, a total of 141 Opposition members have now been suspended from Parliament. Of these, 95 are from the Lok Sabha and 46 from the Rajya Sabha.

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Read here: ‘Ultimate failure’, ‘Anarchy’: Opposition lashes out after 141 MPs suspended from Parliament

The number is unprecedented, and far surpasses the 63 lawmakers who were suspended in 1989 during a debate on a report on former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination.

Among the MPs ordered out in the latest wave of were Nationalist Congress Party’s Supriya Sule, Jammu & Kashmir National Conference MP Farooq Abdullah, Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Karti Chidambaram, Bahujan Samaj Party’s Danish Ali, and Samajwadi Party’s Dimple Yadav.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi, who spoke before law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, moved a motion on Tuesday for the suspension of the MPs, calling them “frustrated”. Several leaders from the other side hit back, describing the actions of the Speaker as a “complete purge”.

The bone of contention remained the Opposition’s demand that Union home minister Amit Shah speak in Parliament and a discussion be held on the December 13 security breach, when two men stormed into the Lok Sabha and set off smoke cannisters on the floor of the House.

“They had agreed not to bring placards. They are frustrated with their loss, so taking such steps. These people will not come back in the House next time if this behaviour continues,” Joshi said. “They are insulting the chair and the people of India by bringing placards,” he added.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge described the suspensions as an assault on democracy. “The suspension of a total of 141 Opposition MPs from Parliament reinforces our charge that an autocratic BJP wants to demolish Democracy in this country. We all know that key Bills like the Criminal Law Amendments, which unleash draconian powers and impede citizen’s Rights, are listed,” he posted on X.

With Tuesday’s suspension, 10 Congress members — including former party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi — are now left in Lok Sabha for the current session.

The acrimony between the government and the opposition parties was also captured in the Parliament premises where Trinamool Congress’s Lok Sabha member Kalyan Banerjee appeared to mock Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar by ostensibly mimicking his mannerisms while conducting a mock sitting of the House. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was seen recording the act on video.

Dhankhar, who is also India’s Vice President, later called the conduct “unacceptable”. “I have adjourned the House. You are not aware of the kind of response that is against this institution in the minds of the people and we had the occasion to see the lowest level,” he said.

Banerjee, the Lok Sabha MP from Selampore, was suspended on Monday.

On Tuesday, the first adjournment of the day in the Lower House took place almost immediately after it assembled at 11am. Speaker Om Birla first halted proceedings till noon, before the House reconvened shortly only for it to be adjourned again at 12.30pm.

Several opposition members were on their feet and some of them came to the Well of the House shouting slogans against the government and holding placards. Some of them were carrying a morphed picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaker Om Birla said such act was completely against the rules, regulations and proprieties to bring placards into the House. “This House belongs to you. We all have decided that no one will bring placards inside the House. But you have come here with placards. Even you have come to the podium. Is it correct? Please go back to your seat. I am giving you a last warning,” he said.

As the suspensions were announced, some of the MPs expressed surprise at the decision.

“I have no idea why I was suspended. I didn’t raise slogans or a placard. I was standing in the aisle. Also, Dimple Yadav wasn’t even standing in the aisle. She was standing in her allocated space. This has to be a technical suspension,” Congress leader Karti Chidambaram said.

Another Congress member, Shashi Tharoor, said: “It is clear that they want an Opposition-mukt Lok Sabha and they will do something similar in Rajya Sabha. At this point, unfortunately, we have to start writing obituaries for Parliamentary democracy in India... Today, in solidarity with my colleagues, I too joined the protest and everybody who was present has been suspended for the rest of the session which means they want to pass their Bills without any discussion.”

Read here: 78 MPs suspended as Parliament sets a grim record

NCP’s Farooq Abdullah said the home minister Amit Shah should have spoken on the security breach. “Who does the Police come under? What would have happened if he made a statement in Parliament on the incident (security breach)?”

Meanwhile, in what is the current administration’s last full session — barring the Budget session, which may only see a Vote on Account — before next year’s general elections, legislative work went on in Parliament despite the acrimonious breakdown. The Post Office Bill, 2023 was cleared in the Lok Sabha, and the Rajya Sabha has passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2023, and the Government of Union Territories (Amendment) Bill 2023.

On Tuesday, three bills were cleared in Lok Sabha — amendments to the NCT of Delhi Law, the central GST law, and the provisional collection of taxes bill, 2023. The Rajya Sabha passed the amendments to the NCT of Delhi laws and returned appropriation bills 3 and 4.

Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, Piyush Goyal, while the amendments to the NCT Delhi bills were being cleared, said: “The bill is substantial, yet AAP and Congress, despite their presence in the House, remain unsupportive.”

He added, in a reference to Banerjee ostensibly mimicking Dhankhar and Rahul Gandhi recording the act: “I witnessed on TV and social media the behaviour of Trinamool Congress and the Congress did not condemn it.”

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