Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday said he will stop hosting the show, To The Point, which is telecast on the government-run Sansad TV. Tharoor cited the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs from the Upper House for the ongoing Winter Session as the reason behind his decision.

The MPs were suspended on November 29 for their allegedly unruly and violent conduct during the Monsoon Session in August. The session was marked by disruptions in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha because of the Pegasus spyware row and the farm laws.

The suspended MPs are Elamaram Kareem of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Congress’ Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, R Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh, Communist Party of India’s Binoy Viswam, Trinamool Congress’ Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri, and Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai.

On Sunday, Chaturvedi had quit as the anchor of another show on Sansad TV, Meri Kahani. This had left Tharoor the only Opposition leader to be hosting a show on the government-run channel.

In a statement, Tharoor said he will not host the show till the suspension of the MPs are revoked.

“As an MP who has gone every morning to greet the protestors and express my solidarity with them, I am concerned that my continued involvement in hosting a show on Sansad TV would be seen as making me complicit in the undemocratic manner in which Parliamentary institutions are being run,” he said.

The Congress MP also accused Sansad TV of bias, claiming that cameras focus on the Treasury Benches and the Opposition parties are ignored. “A Parliamentary channel must, by definition, reflect the diversity of Parliament and not merely whitewash the reality on Parliament’s functioning.”

Tharoor noted that accepting the invitation to host the show was among the best practices of India’s parliamentary democracy.

“However, the prolonged suspension of 12 MPs from the Rajya Sabha, expelled in an arbitrary manner for actions committed during a previous session, has called into question the very assumption of a bipartisan spirit animating the work of Parliament,” he said.

As part of the TV show, Tharoor interviewed eminent personalities.

Chaturvedi had also quit due to her suspension. In her resignation letter addressed to Rajya Sabha’s Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu, she had said that the decision to suspend her was in disregard to parliamentary norms and rules.

Why were the MPs suspended?

The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which ended two days before its schedule on August 11, saw several disruptions as the government and the Opposition had reached an impasse over discussion on allegations that the Pegasus spyware was used to monitor several politicians, journalists and activists in India.

The bedlam peaked in the Rajya Sabha on August 11 as Opposition MPs physically clashed with security personnel.

A joint statement by a group of MPs accused the government of bringing in “outsiders not part of Parliament security” in order to “manhandle Opposition leaders and members, including women parliamentarians”.

The government, on the other hand, blamed the Opposition for creating a ruckus.

After the session was adjourned sine die, a delegation of Union ministers reiterated their demand for action against the Opposition MPs. Naidu had reportedly then said he will examine the matter and then decide on an appropriate course of action.