'In Democracy's Interest': LoP Writes to Naidu on Suspension of 12 MPs From RS

Twelve MPs were suspended from the Rajya Sabha on Monday over alleged 'indiscipline'.

3 min read

As the Opposition boycotted the Lok Sabha for the entire day over the suspension of 12 MPs from the Winter Session of the Parliament, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday, 30 November, wrote to the chairman of the Rajya Sabha to reconsider the suspension "in the larger interest of Parliamentary democracy."

"The Monsoon Session of the House concluded on 11 August 2021 and was prorogued by the President on 31 August 2021. If the House had only been adjourned and then reconvened without any prorogation, the argument of continuity would merit any justification," Congress leader Kharge noted in the letter.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday indicated that the suspension of the 12 MPs for the remainder of the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament was necessary to "protect democracy," news agency ANI reported.

"The Members who have committed this sacrilege against the House, have not expressed any remorse. On the other hand, they are justifying it. So, I don't think the appeal of LoP (Leader of Opposition Kharge for revocation of suspension) is worth considering," he was quoted as saying.

Opposition MPs Stage Walkout

Opposition MPs on Tuesday, 30 November, staged a walkout from the Parliament and after RS chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu rejected the proposal for revoking the suspension of 12 MPs over alleged indiscipline.

Congress MP KC Venugopal said that the party has boycotted the session for the rest of the day.

The rejection of the proposal came after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi earlier on Tuesday said that the government might consider the proposal if the MPs apologise.

Opposition leaders later protested at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament premises over the matter.

The suspended MPs will write to the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha and argue against their suspension on Wednesday, ANI reported.

The 12 MPs include Elamaram Kareem (CPM), Congress MPs Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, R Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Binoy Viswam (CPI), Trinamool Congress (TMC) MPs Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri, and Shiv Sena MPs Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai.

'The House Has the Right': Naidu

As the House commenced on Tuesday, Kharge argued that the suspension was against the rule of the House.

"We came to your office to request for revocation of the suspension of 12 MPs. The incident happened in the last Monsoon Session. So, how can you take this decision now," Kharge said.

Addressing the House, Naidu said that he had expected the current session to go better than the pervious one, which was marred by suspensions and ruckus by MPS.

"The bitter experience of the last Monsoon Session still continues to haunt most of us. I was expecting and waiting for the leading lights of the House to take lead in expressing outrage over what happened in the last session," Naidu said.

"The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is empowered to take action and also the House can take action," he added, while rejecting the proposal to revoke the suspension.

'Apology for What?'

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had earlier said that the government will consider revoking the suspension if the MPs apologise.

"In order to maintain the dignity of the House, the government was compulsorily forced to place this proposal of suspension... But if these 12 MPs apologise to the Speaker and House for their misbehaviour, then the government is also ready to consider their proposal positively with an open heart," he tweeted.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi later took to Twitter to say: "Apology for what? For raising the issues of people in the House? Absolutely not!"

"The question of offering an apology doesn't arise. The MPs were suspended against the rules of the House. This action is like strangulating the voice of opposition LoP in RS," Kharge had said earlier in the day, as quoted by ANI.

Speaking to the media outside the Parliament following the walkout, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the action points at a 'retrospective effect'.

"Why should an apology be issued?" he said.

Opposition Meet

Sixteen Opposition parties met on Tuesday before the session commenced to discuss the course of action over the suspension.

The parties had decided to meet Naidu over the matter.

The meeting that took place in the office of the Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, was attended by the Shiv Sena, NCP, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) among others.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was also present at the meeting.

The Trinamool congress (TMC), that also had two of its MPs suspended on Monday, 29 November, skipped the meet.

Speaking to ANI following the walkout, TMC MP Nadimul Haque said that the party stands with the Opposition on the matter but it will "take it's own path".

TMC MP Derek O'Brien, while addressing the media on Tuesday, said that the two suspended TMC MPs will protest at the Gandhi statue every day and urged other Opposition MPs to join them in solidarity.

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