Saturday, March 25, 2023

Record 19 MPs suspended for unruly behaviour in RS

A record 19 MPs from opposition parties were suspended from Rajya Sabha on Tuesday for the rest of the week after they continued to disrupt proceedings to press for an immediate discussion on price rise and levy of GST on essential items.
An unrelenting Opposition created a ruckus in Rajya Sabha, with the penalised MPs refusing to leave the House, and alleged that “democracy has been suspended” in the country.
The development, which came a day after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Prakash Birla suspended four Congress MPs for the rest of the current Monsoon session, is likely to further intensify the standoff between the Opposition and the government, which insisted that the discussion will be held once Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recovers from COVID-19.
Of the 19 MPs suspended from Rajya Sabha, seven belong to the Trinamool Congress, six are from the DMK, three from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), two from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and one from the Communist Party of India (CPI).
The first seven days of the Monsoon session were virtually washed out as the two Houses were rocked by Opposition protests to press for an immediate discussion on rising prices of fuel and essential commodities as well as levy of GST on wheat, rice, flour, curd and other daily use items.
On Tuesday too, Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for an hour after it assembled but Deputy Chairman Harivansh managed to conduct Question Hour despite opposition MPs trooping into the well and shouting slogans.
But in the post-lunch session, when the government legislative business was to be taken up, Harivansh repeatedly asked the protesting members to return to their seats and warned them of action.
The action against the 19 Rajya Sabha MPs escalated the opposition’s fury against the government over what they claim was an attempt to shut voices that question the ruling alliance’s economic and social policies.
The opposition is demanding that the discussions be held under Rule 267 which requires suspending the listed business of the day to take up the issue being raised.
After the suspension, Harivansh asked the 19 MPs to leave the House.
But the suspended MPs refused to leave, squatting on the floor of the House, leading to three adjournments — first for 15 minutes by Harivansh, then for an hour and finally, for the day by Bhubaneswar Kalita, who was in the chair.


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