Soon after four Congress MPs were suspended from the rest of the Parliament's Monsoon session for disrupting proceedings in Lok Sabha and "unruly behaviour", Congress said that the government was trying to intimate the party and added that they would not be cowed down.
Lok Sabha MPs, including Manickam Tagore, Ramya Haridas, Jothimani, and TN Prathapan, were suspended for the entire Monsoon Session for displaying placards and disrupting proceedings despite a warning by Speaker Om Birla.
They have been suspended as per Rule 374 on "unruly and disrespectful behaviour towards chair".
Following the suspension, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor attacked the government saying that it is genuinely arrogant about its brute majority and seems contemptuous about the need to accommodate opposition voices, NDTV reported.
He further added that the suspension of four opposition MP's is "disgraceful, and marks a catastrophic breakdown of relations between the government and the opposition."
Speaking with reporters along with the four suspended MPs, 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 rise in prices of gas cylinder, 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.
'Suspension Appropriate': Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi
However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi defended the suspension and said that government is ready for discussions on price rise, but the MPs did not respect the chair and created ruckus by violating the laws.
Joshi added that government has been saying that it is “ready for discussion on price rise as soon as Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recovers from COVID.”
“But the Congress MPs’ action in the house shows they don’t respect the chair and the house. The action taken against them is appropriate,” he said.
Joshi termed the suspended Congress MPs’ conduct in the House “unacceptable” and said “placing placards in front of the Lok Sabha Speaker chair is not the way to protest.”
“They were doing this after being warned by the Speaker,” he said.
'Govt Only Hears Voice of the Fourth-Richest Man and Not Common Man'
Tagore, one of the suspended MPs, said for the past six days, the Congress has been demanding a discussion on price rise, giving notices for adjournment motion but the government has shown "complete arrogance".
"Today, when a tribal woman has taken oath as President, a Dalit woman has been suspended from Lok Sabha," he said. He also alleged that the BJP only wants Parliament to cheer its leaders and its victory.
"We were trying to show placards in the House and place them in the camera angles. They say placards are not allowed in Parliament... what is allowed is only cheering for Modi ji," he said.
The government only hears the voice of the fourth-richest man in the world and not the common man, Tagore further alleged.
The proceedings in both the houses began at 2 pm on Monday instead of the usual 11 am, following the swearing-in ceremony of Droupadi Murmu as the 15th President of India.
Both the houses saw repeated adjournments amid protests from the opposition parties over price rise and inflation and the recent hike in the Goods and Services Tax rates.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI.)