Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Aam Aadmi Party legislator Raghav Chadha have been suspended from Parliament. Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned sine die, on the last day of the Monsoon Session.
The Lok Sabha suspended Chowdhury, the Congress’ Leader of the House, on Thursday for allegedly engaging in unruly conduct and causing repeated disturbances, The Hindu reported. The Lok Sabha’s privileges committee has been asked to look into Chowdhury’s conduct. He will remain suspended till it takes a decision.
In his address to the House on Thursday, Chowdhury, had made a reference to the Hindu epic Mahabharata to question Modi’s silence on violence against women in Manipur. He had said that “the king should not be blind” to what is happening against women “whether it is in Hastinapur or Manipur”, evoking a sharp reaction from the Treasury Bench.
The Congress MP had also said “Modi is sitting ‘nirav’ on the Manipur issue”, clarifying that the word “nirav” means to be silent.
Later, Chowdhury walked out of the Lower House with other Congress MPs when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was replying to the Opposition’s no-confidence motion against the Centre.
The Opposition moved the no-trust motion to get the prime minister to speak on the unrest in Manipur as he had not attended Parliament for a single day since July 20. However, Modi did not speak about Manipur for over an hour and only briefly mentioned the situation in the state after the Opposition MPs had left.
After Modi’s speech, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi moved a resolution seeking Chowdhury’s suspension, saying that he disturbs the House whenever the prime minister or other ministers speak, according to The Indian Express. The resolution was passed by a voice vote.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah then urged Speaker Om Birla to ask the Congress MP to show restraint. Subsequently, some parts of Chowdhury’s speech were expunged by the Speaker.
Separately, Chadha was suspended from the Rajya Sabha on Friday for an alleged breach of privileges after four MPs complained that he named them in a House panel without their consent in violation of rules, reported NDTV.
Chadha had proposed forming a Select Committee to consider the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill 2023 that gives the Centre power over the Delhi government. He had included the names of Biju Janata Dal MP Sasmit Patra, Bharatiya Janata Party’s S Phangnon Konyak and Narhari Amin and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam legislator M Thambidurai.
BJP MP and Leader of the House Piyush Goyal had moved the resolution to suspend Chadha till the privileges committee submits its findings on the cases of breach of privileges.
Goyal criticised the “unethical conduct” of the Aam Aadmi Party MP and described it as an “outrageous disregard of the rules”.
Meanwhile, Chowdhury said that his suspension was the result of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s brute majority in the Lok Sabha. The Congress leader said that he only used metaphors to explain a ruler being silent and blind to the suffering of the people.
“I am not only ready to have an open debate with Pralhad Joshi or anyone in the BJP,” he said. “If I have used any word in the wrong context in people’s eyes, I am ready to quit politics.”
Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that Chowdhury’s suspension was undemocratic and unfortunate. “It shows the arrogance of power and malice,” he said.
Later in the day, Kharge also urged Rajya Sabha chairperson Jagdeep Dhankhar to “protect democracy”, stating that Chowdhury’s suspension will deprive him of various Parliamentary Committees that he is part of, according to Mint.
“He has been suspended on a flimsy ground…” Kharge said. “I am pleading with the vice president and the Chairman of the House that you have to protect the democracy as he [Adhir] is in the public accounts committee, business advisory committee too and the CBC selection. He has been deprived of all these institutions and if he is suspended, it’s not good.”
Meanwhile, Chadha, in a video message, asked whether he was suspended because he “questioned the leaders of the biggest party in the world” inside Parliament or if he demanded justice for the Delhi services bill.