Four Congress MPs have been suspended from the Lok Sabha for the entire monsoon session ending August 12 for holding protests with placards inside the house over price rise. Speaker Om Birla had earlier warned them to behave and hold the placards outside the house if they wanted to protest.
The suspended Congress MPs are Manickam Tagore, Jothimani, Ramya Haridas and TN Prathapan.
After the Speaker’s action, the four went near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on the parliament grounds and raised slogans there. The Congress said the government is trying to intimidate its MPs by suspending some of them. “Our MPs were trying to raise issues which matter to people,” the Congress said.
“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,” Congress’s Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi said.
A visibly upset Lok Sabha Speaker had warned opposition MPs that he was willing for a discussion after 3 pm, but won’t tolerate any placard protest inside the house.
“If you want to show placards, do it outside the house. I am ready for discussions, but don’t think my kind-heartedness is weakness,” the Speaker said. Later, he adjourned the proceedings till tomorrow.
When the session resumed after 3 pm – it was adjourned 20 minutes into Zero Hour earlier – the opposition MPs, however, returned with the placards.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, condemning the conduct of the opposition MPs, requested the Speaker to take action against MPs who brought the placards inside the house again.
“The people of the country want the house to run. But it can’t run like this. I will not allow such a situation to remain in the house,” Mr Birla said. “If you want to show placards, do it outside the house. I am ready for discussions, but don’t think my kind-heartedness is a weakness,” the Speaker said.
Carrying placards and banners, the opposition MPs demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come to parliament and address their concerns over rising inflation and goods and services tax, or GST, hike on essential items.
The opposition has been demanding a discussion in parliament on price rise and had stalled the proceedings in both houses ever since the start of the monsoon session on July 18.
Rajya Sabha Leader of the House Piyush Goyal said the government is ready for talks on inflation as it wants people to know what steps have been taken to fight price rise. “Inflation used to be in double digits during Congress/UPA rule but now it is around 7 per cent, which is less compared to other countries considering the problems around the world. The opposition is running away from the debate as they know they will be exposed,” Mr Goyal said.