The five Opposition parties, whose MPs were suspended from Rajya Sabha on November 29, skipped a meeting with the Centre on Monday to discuss the stalemate in Parliament, the Hindustan Times reported. This came a day after the Centre extended an invitation to the parties for a discussion.
Fifteen Opposition parties have been protesting against the suspension for the last two weeks and have now intensified their agitation.
Leaders of Opposition parties on Monday morning held a meeting to decide whether to attend the meeting called by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government on the suspension of the 12 politicians, reported ANI.
“We will not attend the meeting called by the government,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told the news agency. “We will demand the resignation of MoS [Minister of State] Home Ajay Kumar Misra and revocation of suspension of 12 Opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha. We will not let both Houses of Parliament function.”
Communist Party of India leader Binoy Viswam said that the parties refused to attend the meeting as they saw it as a “ploy to divide the Opposition”, reported the Hindustan Times.
Opposition leaders have alleged that the government was trying to divide them by inviting members from only select parties.
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi has called leaders from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India and Shiv Sena for the meeting.
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.
The MPs were suspended on November 29 for allegedly being unruly and violent 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.
On Sunday, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said it was “unfair and unfortunate” as only select parties were invited, NDTV reported.
“We have been requesting from the evening of November 29 itself that either the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha or the Leader of the House Shri Piyush Goyal call leaders of all Opposition parties for a discussion to break the stalemate,” he said. “This reasonable request of ours has not been agreed to, further inviting only leaders of four Opposition parties instead of inviting leaders of all Opposition parties is unfair and unfortunate.”
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said that the government’s call for a meeting was a “failed stunt” as it only called members of five Opposition parties, leaving out the rest. “First revoke the arbitrary suspension,” he said in a tweet.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Elamaram Kareem said that the three-week delay in conducting the meeting with members of Opposition parties was quite unfortunate.
“Even now the action of the government is not sincere as the meeting is meant for only the floor leaders of the suspended MPs’ parties,” he said in a statement. “As you are well aware that the entire opposition has been taking a unified stand on this suspension issue.”