Finally the ‘Tai’, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has cracked the whip. If some Congress MPs and a section of media are surprised by the suspension of 25 Congress members from Lok Sabha proceedings for five days, either they are being too novice in the game of politics or simply pretending.
Things were actually coming to a breaking point as the ruling side and the Lok Sabha Speaker herself had kept on warning the disruptive members time and again. “Congress should have been seen this coming after Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury was suspended for a day amid strong opposition from Congress and even Trinamul Congress,” says one senior MP from a key opposition party on the condition of unanimity.
In fact, earlier during the Question Hour on Monday, Speaker had called most of these Congress members by name when they were displaying placards during the Question Hour and repeatedly ask them to keep the placards away. The result is suspension of the Congress MPs. This is unprecedented but Parliament watchers say the Speaker has acted under the provisions of Rule book itself.
The Rule 374(A) of Parliament says: “Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less.”
The move came after the government approached the Speaker, slamming the Opposition for obstructing the House for the past several days.
Such a major action is the first in the current Lok Sabha, where BJP has 282 members of its own and thus pretty comfortable with its NDA allies. The suspended Congress members included BN Chandrappa, Santok Singh Chaudhary, AHK Choudhury, Sushmita Dev, Ninog Ering, R Dhruvanarayana, Gaurav Gogoi, G Sukender Reddy, Deepender Hooda, S Kodikunnil, SP Muddahanumegowda, Abhijit Mukherjee, Mullappally Ramachandran, KH Munniyappa, BV Nayak, Vincent Pala, MK Raghavan, Ranjeet Ranjan, CL Ruala, T Sahu, Rajee Satav, Ravneet Singh K Suresh, KC Venugopal and T Meinya.
Significantly, Speaker’s action came after several warnings and pleas by TMC leader Sudip Bandhyopadhyay and CPI(M) leader P Karunakaran that it would “aggravate the situation”. The Congress President Sonia Gandhi later called it a “black day” for democracy while Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh tried to blame Modi-led NDA for the same.
“Sumitra Mahajan ‘Tai’ an otherwise old School BJP/ Jan Sangh Leader how she has taken such a decision? I am surprised. Is she under pressure,” Digvijaya Singh tweeted.
The other opposition parties like NCP of Sharad Pawar, Trinamool of Mamata Banerjee, Samajwadi of Mulayam Singh Yadav – all seem to stick to the Congress for the time being and decided to boycott the Lok Sabha proceedings for 5 days in solidarity with Congress members.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh has already tried to wedge a war between Modi-led NDA and the erstwhile Atal Behati Vajpayee-led NDA when he said, “During NDA under Atalji no MP was suspended. Under UPA in spite of BJP not allowing Parliament to function no BJP MP was suspended. This is the basic difference between Democratic Leaders and a Dictator. Basic difference between Atal ji and Modi”.
The Congress leaders’ idea is to spark off a debate over whether the Parliament can function like this. Many lawmakers from smaller parties seem to agree with what the Congress has been trying to rake up.
“It is simply extension of ‘Gujarat model’ at the national level,” NCP MP from Bihar Tariq Anwar told DailyBouncer. He also termed it a “black day” with regard to parliamentary tradition and said his party will stick to Congress on the same.
“This shuts the door for any negotiation between Congress and BJP,” JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP, KC Tyagi said and went onto add, “by this harsh decision, the government has dragged some regional parties like JD(U) to stick to the Congress.”