Updated: December 14, 2021 6:16:45 pm
STEPPING UP their protest against the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs, leaders of Opposition parties took out a symbolic protest march on Tuesday. Protesting leaders hit out at the Government, accusing it of stifling and strangling the voice of the Opposition in Parliament and pushing the country into a state of undeclared emergency with its dictatorial attitude.
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the Government has turned Parliament into a museum by not allowing issues of national importance to be discussed in the House. Rahul said the suspension of MPs is a “symbol” of the state of democracy in the country now. “This (suspension of 12 MPs) is a symbol of crushing of the voice of the people of India. They have been suspended for two weeks now…They have done nothing wrong. We are not allowed to discuss important issues in Parliament…Bills after Bills are passed in the din. This is not the way to run Parliament. The Prime Minister doesn’t come to the House. We are not allowed to raise issues of national importance. It is an unfortunate killing of democracy that is taking place,” he said.
Pointing to the Parliament building, he then said, “Iska kya matlab hai..koi matlab nahin..This is now just a building, a museum.”
Standing in solidarity with the suspended members, other leaders also attacked the Government. DMK leader Tiruchi Siva said the Government’s stand that the suspended MPs should express regret on the floor of the House was unprecedented and accused it of adopting a rigid attitude. He said the Opposition is only striving to restore democracy in Parliament. Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut added, “echoed saying the opposition is seeking justice and agitating for saving democracy. “But this government does not want to hear the two words democracy and justice,” he said, adding the opposition will not bend or be cowed down.
Trinamool Congress’s Dola Sen, one of the suspended MPs, said it was the Opposition’s responsibility to raise the voice of the people in Parliament. “The Modi government, arrogant about its numerical strength of 303 seats, does not allow the Opposition to speak….the headmaster has come…Modi hai toh mumkin hai…so members were suspended for what happened in the last session,” she said.
CPM’s Elamaram Kareem said the Opposition would not surrender before the Government even if they “expel us” from Parliament and said he will continue to commit the “crime” of raising the voice of the people.
Samajwadi Party’s Vishambhar Prasad Nishad said there is an undeclared emergency in the country.
RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha said the fight is for restoring the dignity of Parliament. “We have seen governments with far bigger majorities in Parliament. 1952, 1957, 1962….But those governments had compassion….this government is working on the basis of its brute majority…this is a long fight. We are not just fighting for revocation of the suspension…we are fighting for restoring the finest beauty of parliamentary democracy.”