NEW DELHI: A record 19 MPs from opposition parties, including seven from the TMC and six from the DMK, were suspended from Rajya Sabha on Tuesday for the rest of the week after they continued to disrupt proceedings to press for an immediate discussion on price rise and levy of GST on essential items.
The development, which came a day after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Prakash Birla suspended four Congress MPs for the rest of the current Monsoon session, is likely to further intensify the standoff between the Opposition and the government, which insisted that the discussion will be held once Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recovers.
An unrelenting Opposition created a ruckus in Rajya Sabha, with the penalised MPs refusing to leave the House, and alleged that “democracy has been suspended” in the country. Of the 19 MPs suspended from Rajya Sabha, others are from TRS, two from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and one from the Communist Party of India (CPI).
On Tuesday, Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for an hour after it assembled but Deputy Chairman Harivansh managed to conduct Question Hour despite opposition MPs trooping into the well and shouting slogans. But in the post-lunch session, when the government legislative business was to be taken up, Harivansh repeatedly asked the protesting members to return to their seats and warned them of action.
Senior opposition leaders like Ramgopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, TMC’s Derek O’Brien and others demanded the suspension of business to discuss price rise but the chair wanted The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 to be discussed.
When his pleas went unheeded, Harivansh asked the treasury benches to move a resolution for suspension.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan moved a motion to suspend 10 MPs - seven from the TMC, Mohamed Abdulla and Kanimozhi NVN Somu of the DMK and AA Rahim of the CPM - from the sitting of the House for the remainder of the week. Nine more names - B Lingaiah Yadav, Ravichandra Vaddiraju and Damodar Rao Divakonda of the TRS; S Kalyanasundaram, R Girirajan, NR Elango and M Shanmugam of the DMK, CPM’s V Sivadasan and Santhosh Kumar P of CPI were added - when Harivansh put the motion to vote.