Congress MPs were protesting in the well of the House, shouting slogans and holding placards, when the Speaker announced their names for suspension under Rule 374(A). She said that the ‘named’ members will not attend five sittings of the House. Speaker announced the suspension after repeated warnings and pleas to the Opposition members to put down their placards.
Congress has cried foul and has called the Speaker’s move undemocratic.
“It is a Black Day for democracy” said Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
“Suspending 25 Congress members like this is against the law. The placard is not a new thing, this has been happening in the house,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress party in Lok Sabha.
Congress has decided to boycott the House during the period of suspension of its 25 MPs. Many Opposition parties including the Aam Aadmi Party and All India Trinamool Congress have shown solidarity with the Congress in boycotting the Lower House for the next five days.
“Eight Opposition parties are boycotting proceedings in Lok Sabha over suspension of 25 Congress MP,” said Kharge after the Lower House was adjourned for the day.
After announcing the suspension, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day. Some Congress members staged a sit-in protest in the House. President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi did not leave the House immediately after the suspension and held discussions with other Opposition leaders.
Apart from Congress MPs, members of other parties were also protesting holding placards in their hands. Samajwadi Party, RJD and JD(U) members were in the Well of the House with placards demanding that caste census data be made public. Some TRS MPs demanded a separate High Court for Telangana. They too had placards in their hands.
The Rule 374(A) says: “Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House persistently and willfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less.”
Congress, which has 44 members in the Lower House, was protesting against the alleged involvement of BJP leaders in the Lalit Modi row and Vyapam scam. Party members were demanding the resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chief Ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Congress has been disrupting the Parliament since the beginning of the monsoon session over these two issues.
Earlier in the day, an All-Party Meeting failed to break the Parliament deadlock as Congress refused to climb down from its demand for resignations.
“Government has not taken any initiative. They want to pass bills. At the same time they do not want to take concerns raised by Opposition parties on board,” said Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.