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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Protesting MPs upset as House allowed to take up legislative business

On Monday, Rajya Sabha discussed and passed the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, with Opposition members taking part in the discussion.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
Updated: December 14, 2021 7:16:03 am
parliament, rajya sabha, protesting mps, mps, India news, Indian express, Indian express news, current affairsOpposition leaders stage a protest in Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. (RSTV/PTI Photo)

As the protest by the 12 Opposition MPs suspended from Rajya Sabha entered the third week, there is unease among many of them over the lack of a united and aggressive floor strategy. The MPs were upset that Opposition members allowed the Government to carry out its legislative business.

On Monday, Rajya Sabha discussed and passed the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill, 2021, with Opposition members taking part in the discussion.

Sources said many Opposition leaders, especially DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, at a meeting of the parties on Monday morning had forcefully argued that the Opposition cannot let normal business take place in the House when the MPs are protesting outside. The Congress leaders are said to have reluctantly agreed.

While the Opposition disrupted the House Monday morning, it allowed discussion on the Bill in the afternoon, leaving many of the protesting MPs dismayed.

Sources said differences had cropped up last week itself. On Thursday, Opposition parties had decided to suspend its protest, both inside and outside the House as a mark of respect to Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and the 11 personnel who had died in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu the previous day.

On Friday too, the leaders decided that there should be no protest since Gen Rawat’s body was kept in state in the national capital. But most of the suspended MPs disagreed, asking why the protest should be suspended for a second day when the Government is pushing its legislative agenda in Parliament.

Sources said some of the Opposition leaders on Monday broached the topic, asking MPs why they did not adhere to the decision to not allow regular business to take place. It was then decided that the Opposition MPs will take out a march to Vijay Chowk on Tuesday and hold a protest at the Jantar Mantar on Wednesday.

On Monday, Rajya Sabha Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and deputy leader Anand Sharma raised the issue of suspension in the House and asked the government to take the initiative to resolve the logjam. The Opposition also staged a walk out. Sharma later spoke to Leader of the House Piyush Goyal.

Kharge said the “Government cannot dictate to us what should be done and what should not be done” and accused it of “repeatedly refusing to concede to our request and they are putting blame on us”.

Sharma, who raised the issue first, asked the Government to find a way forward to resolve the matter. “The Chairman last week had expressed his anguish and pain and also urged both the Government and the Opposition to find a constructive solution which is acceptable and we would urge the Government now to respond to the Chairman,” Sharma said.

“We are also interested in the smooth functioning of the House. So, the Government should take an initiative because it is their responsibility since they have moved the resolution. Let them find a way out to end the logjam,” DMK’s Siva said.

Goyal responded by accusing Kharge of making “allegations and wrong statements”. “We have been repeatedly trying…spoken to everyone separately and discussed with everyone…but statements are being made by leaders outside that there will be no apology…that we have done nothing wrong. Today the irony is that they (opposition members) are alleging that the Chair was not heeding to their requests,” he said.

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