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92 opposition MPs suspended from Indian parliament

The suspensions come as both houses saw repeated adjournments amid calls from opposition MPs for a statement from Union home minister Amit Shah on the security breach in Parliament on December 13.

Opposition MPs protest in Lok Sabha. Photo: Screengrab via X/@HibiEden

Bulldozing Opposition': 78 MPs Suspended From Parliament On Monday, 92 In Total

By Sravasti Dasgupta

The Wire

New Delhi: A total of 78 opposition MPs were suspended from both houses of parliament on Monday, December 18, taking the total of suspended MPs since December 15 to 92. While 33 MPs were suspended in the Lok Sabha, 45 were suspended in the Rajya Sabha.

On December 14, a total of 14 MPs (13 in Lok Sabha and one in Rajya Sabha) were suspended.

The suspensions come as both houses of parliament saw repeated adjournments amid calls from opposition MPs for a statement from Union home minister Amit Shah on the security breach in parliament on December 13, when two men jumped from the public gallery into the Lok Sabha hall and opened smoke canisters.

Earlier on Monday, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla said that a high-level probe is already looking into the security breach and some of the suggestions given by opposition MPs have been implemented while others will also be looked into.

“It is sad that politics is being done on this. To enter the well of the house and do sloganeering and disrupt the proceedings is against the dignity of the house,” he said.

33 MPs suspended in Lok Sabha on Monday

When the house resumed proceedings in the afternoon, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion to suspend 30 opposition MPs for “misconduct” and “utter disregard” to the chair. Three other Congress MPs’ suspension has been referred to the Privileges Committee.

The MPs who were suspended in Lok Sabha on Monday for the remainder of the session on Monday include Kalyan Banerjee (TMC), A. Raja (DMK), Dayanidhi Maran (DMK), Aparupa Poddar (TMC), Prasun Banerjee (TMC), E.T. Mohammed Basheer (IUML), G. Selvam (DMK), C.N. Annadurai (DMK), Adhir Ranjan Choudhary (Congress), T. Sumathy (DMK), K. Navaskani (IUML), K. Veeraswamy (DMK), N.K. Premchandran (RSP), Saugata Roy (TMC), Satabdi Roy (TMC), Asit Kumar Mal (TMC), Kaushelendra Kumar (JDU), Anto Antony (Congress), S.S. Palanimanickam (DMK), Thirunavukkarasar (Congress), Pratima Mondal (TMC), Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar (TMC), K. Muraleedharan (Congress), Sunil Kumar Mandal (TMC), S. Ramalingam (DMK), K. Suresh (Congress), Amar Singh (Congress), Rajmohan Unnithan (Congress), Gaurav Gogoi (Congress), T.R. Baalu (DMK).

In addition, the duration of suspension of three other MPs from the Congress – K. Jayakumar, Abdul Khaleque, and Vijay Vasanth – will be determined by the Privileges Committee.

Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi. Photo: Screengrab via YouTube/Sansad TV

45 MPs Suspended in Rajya Sabha on Monday

In the Rajya Sabha leader of the house Piyush Goyal moved a motion to suspend 34 members of the opposition for “misconduct” and “continuously shouting slogans and even entered the well of the house during the course of the day thereby violating the rules of the house.”

These members included Pramod Tiwari (Congress), Jairam Ramesh (Congress), Amee Yajnik (Congress), Naranbhai (Congress), Syed Nasir Hussain (Congress),  Phulo Devi Netam (Congress), Shakti Sinh Gohil (Congress), K.C. Venugopal (Congress), Rajani Patil (Congress), Ranjeet Ranjan (Congress), Imran Pratapgarhi (Congress), Randeep Singh Surjewala (Congress), Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC), Mohammed Nadimul Haq (TMC), Abir Ranjan Biswas (TMC), Shantanu Sen (TMC), Mausam Noor (TMC), Prakash Chik Baraik (TMC), Samirul Islam (TMC), M. Shanmugam (DMK),  N.R. Elango, Kanimozhi N.V.N. Somu (DMK), R. Girirajan (DMK), Manoj Kumar Jha (RJD), Faiyaz Ahmed (RJD), V. Sivadasan (CPI-M), Ram Nath Thakur (JDU), Aneel Prasad Hegde (JDU), Vandana Chavan (NCP), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Javed Ali Khan (SP), Mahua Maji (JMM), Jose K. Mani (Kerala Congress M), Ajit Kumar Bhuyan (Independent).

In addition, eleven other MPs’ suspension was referred to the Privileges Committee by Goyal to determine the duration of their suspension.

These include Jebi Mather Hisham (Congress), L. Hanumanthaiah (Congress), Neeraj Dangi (Congress), Rajmani Patel (Congress), Kumar Ketkar (congress), G.C. Chandrashekar, Binoy Viswam (CPI), Santosh Kumar (JDU), John Brittas (CPIM), M. Mohammad Abdulla (DMK), A.A. Rahim (CPI-M) be referred to the committee of privileges.

Including TMC’s Derek O’Brien on December 14, a total of 46 MPs have now been suspended from the Rajya Sabha.

“Democratic norms thrown into dustbin”

Following the suspensions on Monday, opposition MPs have lashed out at the Modi government for being “autocratic.”

Rajya Sabha MP and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said that “democratic norms are being thrown into the dustbin by an autocratic Modi Govt by suspending 47 MPs.”

“With an Opposition-Less Parliament, the Modi Govt can now bulldoze important pending legislations, crush any dissent, without any debate.” he wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

He added that the opposition’s demands include a statement from Shah on the security breach and a discussion in both houses.

After the suspensions in the Rajya Sabha, Congress’s Jairam Ramesh who was also suspended said that it was “a bloodbath in the Rajya Sabha with 45 INDIA party MPs getting suspended for demanding a statement by the Home Minister.”

“Incidentally, I too figure in this Roll of Honour — for the first time in my parliamentary career of 19 years,” he wrote on X. “This is Murder of Democracy in India(MODI) at work!”

Gogoi, one of the MPs suspended on Monday, accused the Modi government of depriving the rights of the people of the country.

“They are bulldozing the opposition and crushing the moral rights of people in the House. It makes evident that they don’t have the intention to run the House,” he told the news agency PTI. “In order to hide Shah’s failure in protecting parliament they are stooping to these measures.”

Congress Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor said that it is “shocking” to see MPs “suspended for demanding accountability from the government in a parliamentary system.”

“What is the point of a Parliament if Ministers do not wish to address it on issues of prime concern? Just to serve as a notice-board and rubber-stamp?

RJD MP Manoj Kumar Jha said that he takes his suspension as a matter of pride.

“When there are dark times then dictators want such a parliament. … We are asking you questions, the issue is only about the security of the country and not about the Parliament building. Can’t you give an official statement? What do you want? You have formed an opposition-free parliament. Those who are left should vote tomorrow ( Suspended). This period will be remembered that ever since Prime Minister Modi’s second term, he has become very weak. Only a weak person encourages and gets such activities done by the parliamentary affairs minister,” he told the news agency ANI in Hindi.

In a statement, the TMC said that the move to suspend over 46 MPs was a “masterstroke in silencing dissent” and that Shah can now “effortlessly and comfortably make a statement.”

Shah: Opposition politicising security breach

While Shah is yet to make a statement in the house on the incident, he has accused the opposition of politicising the issue in an interview with a television news channel.

On Friday Shah in an interview with India Today said that the security breach was a “serious issue” and a “security lapse” but accused opposition parties of doing politics over the incident.

“Everyone knows that parliament security is the responsibility of the Lok Sabha speaker,” he said.

He added that a high-level probe has already started and a report will be sent to the speaker in the coming days.

“There have been around 40 incidents in the past and in all such cases the Lok Sabha speaker has handled the matter. The probe report will come in the next 15-20 days and an FIR has also been lodged. The probe committee will also look into strengthening parliament security in future. I urge everyone to not make this a political issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an interview with Hindi daily Dainik Jagran said that the security breach was serious and cannot be underestimated.

“Efforts should also be made to look for a solution with collective spirit. Everyone should avoid squabbling over such an issue,” he said.

“The gravity of the incident which happened in Parliament should not be underestimated.”

While the Modi government has suspended opposition MPs, action is yet to be taken against BJP MP Pratap Simha who facilitated passes to those who breached parliament security last week.

© The Wire 2023

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