NEW DELHI, July 25 (PTI): Four Congress Lok Sabha members were suspended for the rest of the session on Monday after Speaker Om Birla took a stern view of the continuous disruptions by opposition MPs since the beginning of the Monsoon Session.
Terming the action against its MPs a “blot on democracy”, an angry Congress alleged that the government was trying to “intimidate” it for raising people’s issues and said it would not be cowed down.
As the protesting opposition members again stalled Lok Sabha proceedings on Monday after the near washout last week, the Chair named Congress MPs Manickam Tagore, TN Prathapan, Jothimani and Ramya Haridas.
When members are named, they have to immediately withdraw from the chamber of the House.
Parliamentary Affair minister Pralhad Joshi then moved a resolution to suspend the four for the rest of the session. Joshi said that these MPs had shown “utter disregard” for the authority of the Chair and a “serious note of their misconduct” had been taken by the House.
Speaking to reporters along with the four suspended MPs outside the House, Congress’ deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said, “The government is trying to intimidate us by suspending our MPs. What was their fault? They were trying to raise the issues which matter to people.”
The Congress party will not be cowed down like this, he asserted.
“The MPs were holding placards raising the issues of rising prices of gas cylinders, imposition of GST on items such as flour and buttermilk. We moved an adjournment motion demanding a discussion on these issues, but no discussion was held,” he said.
Earlier, Speaker Om Birla had warned the protesting members, including from the Congress, TMC and DMK, that those who continue to shout slogans and display placards will have to do it outside the House after 3 pm.
TMC MPs, who were part of the protesting opposition parties till 2 PM, did not join the protests after the House assembled at 3 PM. They were seen sitting in their seats.
As the other Opposition members continued to protest, a visibly peeved Birla told them that the government was ready to discuss issues raised by them and stressed that people want the House to function.
Birla then adjourned the House till 3 pm.
However, as the House proceedings resumed, waving of placards and sloganeering continued, drowning the voices of members participating in the Zero Hour.
Rajendra Agarwal, who was chairing the proceedings, implored the opposition members to take note of the warning given by the Speaker.
He said that the members who had been suspended had shown “stubborn behaviour”, “deliberately and continuously disrupted proceedings” and ignored House rules and directions of the Speaker.
The House then passed the resolution by a voice vote and Agarwal announced their suspension. He then asked the members named in the resolution to immediately leave the House. The proceedings were subsequently adjourned for the day.