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The Congress and its allies NCP and RJD walked out of Lok Sabha twice Tuesday over the BJP’s efforts to install governments in Goa and Manipur. MPs of the Trinamool Congress, the Left parties and the JD(U), which tend to make common cause on issues of Centre-state relations, did not join the protest. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan not only rejected notices for admission of an adjournment motion given by Opposition members, but also disallowed any discussion on the matter. “You can not discuss the action of a governor,” she said.
Rising as soon as the House assembled, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said democracy was being murdered. To this, Mahajan responded that she would not allow question hour to be disturbed and members should raise such matters during zero hour. An agitated Kharge sought to know if they were not allowed to raise the issue in the House, where else they would go. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Congress floor leader had used rather strong expressions and therefore, either the Speaker expunge them or allow the government to respond. The Speaker said nothing apart from questions and answers would be allowed to go on record. At this, Kharge walked out, followed by members of the Congress as well as the NCP and the RJD. They remained away until question hour concluded.
Kharge made a second attempt after the laying of papers. By then, Rahul Gandhi too had come in. Kharge started speaking even though Mahajan announced there would be no zero hour and she would go ahead with the business listed for the day. Whatever Kharge said could not be heard because his microphone did not get activated. He was seen holding a piece of paper, trying to draw the attention of the Speaker. All Congress MPs rose to throw their weight behind Kharge, but the Speaker told them she would not allow a discussion on the functioning of a governor. “It is a constitutional authority,” she said, leading to the walkout.