Suspension of Congress MPs unites Opposition, escalates standoff with govt
The suspension of 25 Congress MPs on Tuesday united the Opposition in Parliament and escalated the confrontation with the government as Congress said it will not relent till its demands on the resignation of the three BJP leaders are met.
New Delhi: The suspension of 25 Congress MPs on Tuesday united the Opposition in Parliament and escalated the confrontation with the government as Congress said it will not relent till its demands on the resignation of the three BJP leaders are met.
Boycotting parliament in protest against the suspension of its MPs, Congress got support from other opposition parties including SP, RJD, Trinamool Congress and the Left and staged protests against the Speaker's action described by Sonia Gandhi as a "murder of democracy".
Government, on the other hand, slammed the opposition parties for making an "issue" out of the suspension, arguing that the action had been taken by the Speaker as per the rules.
The issue brought together several opposition parties who boycotted the Lower House and paralysed the Rajya Sabha besides staging a joint protest in the Parliament House complex.
Congress, Trinamool Congress, JD(U), Muslim League and NCP boycotted the proceedings of Lok Sabha and members of the Left, SP and RJD walked out soon after the House met as a mark of solidarity with the MPs suspended for five working days by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan yesterday for causing disruptions.
In the Rajya Sabha, Congress and several other opposition parties created pandemonium over the issue, leading to a washout of the day's proceedings.
Outside, Congress MPs, led by party President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, staged a sit-in near Mahatma Gandhi's statue along with leaders of SP, RJD and AAP.
Wearing black bands, they alleged that the action amounted to "murder of democracy".
Leading the anti-government assault from the front, Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi shouted slogans and declared that the campaign for resignation of BJP leaders will continue even if all its members are "thrown out of Parliament".
"Suspension of our MPs is anti-democratic. Democracy is being murdered," said Sonia, as she, in a rare occurrence, raised slogans along with top party leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, AK Antony and Anand Sharma against the Speaker's decision. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also present.
"We will not budge from our stand and there will be no let up in our pressure (on government) as far as issues of corruption, Sushma Swaraj and Vyapam are concerned," Rahul told reporters, making clear the party's intent to carry on with its belligerent posture on the issue of resignations of top BJP leaders accused of wrongdoing.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the suspension of Congress MPs was "no way" of resolving the issue.
"Congress has raised (the issues) before the country, before the government and before Parliament. We want Parliament to run smoothly. It is the responsibility of the government to take into account the concerns that we have been voicing."