Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Monday revoked the suspension of four Congress members and discussion on price rise began in the House.

The suspension of Manickam Tagore, Ramya Haridas, TN Prathapan and S Jothimani was revoked after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a motion seeking an assurance from the Opposition members that they will not use placards inside the House.

The four MPs were suspended on July 25 for the rest of the Monsoon Session after they used placards during a protest in the House over price rise.

On Monday, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said it was not the intention of the Opposition to hurt the chair, PTI reported.

After the chair approved the motion to revoke the Congress MPs suspension, Birla warned members that he will take action if they bring placards. “Then I’ll listen neither to the government nor to the Opposition,” he said.

GST and price rise discussion

On Monday, the discussion on inflation was initiated by Congress member Manish Tewari as the Lok Sabha proceedings resumed after 2 pm, ANI reported.

Since the beginning of the Monsoon Session on July 18, the Opposition has been demanding a debate on inflation by suspending all other business.

“Country has double-digit inflation for last 14 months, it’s highest in 30 years,” Tewari said on Monday. “Consumer food price index is skyrocketing. GST increased on daily use things like rice, curd, paneer and on pencils and sharpeners, the government is not sparing even children.”

From July 18, tax increases kicked in for a number of goods and services ranging from unbranded packaged food items, milk and curd, to hospital rooms with rents above Rs 5,000. Opposition leaders have said that the higher tax rates announced by the Goods and Services Tax Council will put an additional burden on households.

India’s retail inflation came down to 7.04% year-on-year in May, after touching an eight-year high of 7.79% in April. However, the price rise indicator remained above the Reserve Bank of India’s tolerance band of 6% for a fifth month in a row.

On Monday, Tewari said that only 40 crore citizens are employed today, The Hindu reported.

He also accused the Centre of not supporting citizens during the Covid-19 lockdown. “The rise in the number of MNREGS beneficiaries shows the lack of jobs,” he added.

In response, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey blamed the previous government’s freebies, irresponsible currency printing and excessive subsidies for the current high inflation and fuel prices.

“If we see Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Singapore, everywhere inflation is rising and jobs are getting lost,” he added, according to ANI. “Amid such a situation if the poor are getting two-time meal free of cost then shouldn’t we thank the PM?”

The Congress has planned to hold a nationwide protest against price rise and unemployment on August 5.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar chose a unique way to voice her concerns over price rise in the country. She bit into a raw brinjal to drive home her point about cooking gas cylinders getting expensive, reported NDTV.

“Does the government want us to eat raw vegetables?” she asked, taking a bite of the brinjal.