March 6, 2020 1:31:36 am
Amid signals that the government is pushing for termination of one of the seven Congress MPs who were suspended from Lok Sabha for the remaining period of the Budget Session for “misconduct”, the Congress on Thursday reached out to other Opposition parties to put up a united front to stall such an attempt. The Congress said the suspension of the MPs was a “dictatorial decision” and was motivated by “revenge politics”.
Sources said the Congress has already discussed the issue with some Opposition parties. Leaders of some of the parties, including the DMK and the NCP, are likely to meet the Speaker Friday to register their protest and demand revocation of the suspension. Congress leaders said the party will not take the decision lying down and alleged that the government is unnecessarily provoking the Opposition to ensure that the Budget session continues to be stormy and there is no discussion on the Delhi riots.
“All the Opposition (parties)… we are on the same page… none of the Opposition parties will allow this government which is hell-bent on throttling the voice of the Opposition parties. We wouldn’t budge from our own demand that the Delhi riot issue has to be discussed inside Parliament,” Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said.
The suspended Congress MPs are Gaurav Gogoi, T N Prathapan, Dean Kuriakose, Manickam Tagore, Rajmohan Unnithan, Benny Behanan and Gurjeet Singh Aujla. Sources said the government is seeking the termination of Gogoi’s membership. “We will seek termination of the member’s membership. What the Congress did in Lok Sabha showed their utmost disrespect to the Chair,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters.
Chowdhury said what happened in Parliament was shameful for Parliamentary democracy. Chowdhury said the Opposition was ready to cooperate with the Government in passing Bills but there has to be a discussion on the Delhi riots first. “We readily agreed when the Speaker told us in the morning that the government wants to give a statement in the House on coronavirus…We cooperated with the government and also gave suggestions…We stuck to our demand for a discussion even after objectionable remarks were made against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi…” he said.
“The government says it is thinking about allowing the discussion on March 11… If a discussion can be held on March 11, why not earlier?… And now they have suspended seven of our MPs. What does that mean?… they want to weaken us when we take part in the discussion… this is not the decision of the Speaker… this is the decision of the government…” he said. “If this government does not want to discuss legitimate issues, this government will be recognised as an authoritarian regime,” he said.
Congress communication department head Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “If the Prime Minister will trample upon India’s Parliament… you might as well throw out the entire Opposition forever…”
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