At Least 79 Opposition MPs Suspended From Parliament Today

New Delhi:

In an unprecedented development, 79 MPs, including both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members, were suspended today for staging protests in demand of a statement by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the security breach in Parliament last week. Fourteen MPs had been suspended last week, also for demanding a statement on the security breach. So, this takes the total number of MPs suspended in this session to 92. 

In Lok Sabha, 30 MPs have been suspended for the remainder of the session and three have been suspended till the privileges committee submits a report on their conduct. As for Rajya Sabha, 35 members have been suspended for the rest of session and 11 till a report by privileges panel. Earlier, Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien had been suspended after he demanded a discussion on the breach. 

The suspended MPs from Lok Sabha include Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress’s leader in Lok Sabha, and Gaurav Gogoi, deputy leader of the party in the House. Trinamool MPs Kalyan Banerjee, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, Saugata Ray and Satabdi Roy, and DMK members A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran are also on the list.

In Rajya Sabha, Congress’s Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala, DMK’s Kanimozhi and RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha are among those suspended.   

Speaking to the media, Mr Chowdhury said the government was behaving in a dictatorial manner and treating Parliament as BJP headquarters. He said the Opposition had been cooperating with the government ever since the session began.

“This government has reached the apex of dictatorship. They have the majority, and they are wielding the stick of power. They want to run Parliament like a party office. But that cannot happen. We were eager for a discussion. The productivity of Parliament before December 13 is for all to see. It seems they find it easier to talk to the media, but are scared to speak in Parliament,” he said.

Mr Gogoi said the BJP government is bulldozing the Opposition and claimed that the Home Minister is scared of taking responsibility for the massive security breach. He said they will continue their protest outside Lok Sabha.

Amid the chaos in Rajya Sabha today, Vice-President and Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar was heard saying, “Many members are deliberately ignoring the bench. House is not functioning due to disruption.” 

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said with an Opposition-less Parliament, the government can now “bulldoze important pending legislations, crush any dissent, without any debate”.

Earlier, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X that the Opposition is protesting because of the government’s refusal to accept their demand of a statement by the Home Minister.

“The Prime Minister speaks to a leading newspaper on the very serious December 13th security breach in the Lok Sabha. The Home Minister speaks to a TV channel on the security breach. Parliament is in session. INDIA parties are demanding a statement from the Home Minister in both Houses on the shocking incidents. It is a simple, straightforward and legitimate demand. But Home Minister refuses to make a statement which is his duty and responsibility,” Mr Ramesh said in the post.

In his first remarks on the security breach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Dainik Jagran newspaper in an interview that the incident was “very serious”. He said there is “no need to debate” this and that a “detailed investigation” should be carried out.

On the Opposition’s demand for the Home Minister’s statement, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has maintained that security inside the House is under the secretariat’s purview and that it will not let the Centre intervene. “The government cannot intervene in (responsibilities of) Lok Sabha secretariat. We will not allow that either,” he said last week.

Shocking scenes played out in the Lok Sabha chamber Wednesday when two intruders jumped from desk to desk and deployed coloured smoke from canisters. Their co-accused staged a similar protest outside the Parliament. They have told investigators that their objective was to draw attention to Manipur violence, unemployment and farmers’ problems. A total of six people have been arrested in connection with a case so far. Delhi Police have invoked the stringent anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, against the trespassers.

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