Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday claimed that women parliamentarians of his party were manhandled in the Lok Sabha by marshals during protests over government formation in Maharashtra, PTI reported. Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned till 2 pm on Tuesday after Opposition leaders created a ruckus over the prevailing political situation in Maharashtra.
The state is currently going through a political crisis. Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari invited the Bharatiya Janata Party to stake claim to form the government early on Saturday. The Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party, and the Congress moved the Supreme Court against Koshyari’s decision, but the court has reserved its verdict on the floor test for Tuesday. The three-party coalition staked claim to form the government earlier in the day, providing letters of support to the governor.
Following the chaos in the Lok Sabha, Congress MP from Tamil Nadu Jothimani alleged that she was manhandled. “It is sad that Ramya Haridas [MP from Kerala] and I were manhandled, we have lodged [a] complaint with the speaker,” she said.
Congress leader Chowdhury said the party had never faced this in the Parliament before. “We will be waiting to see what action is taken against those responsible,” he said. “It is a testing time for us. We have to decide whether we let democracy or authoritarianism prevail in this country.”
Union ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajnath Singh, and Pralhad Joshi refuted Congress’s allegations. “The House cannot be place of unruly behaviour,” Prasad told NDTV. “All parties should maintain sanctity and great traditions of [the] Lok Sabha.”
Meanwhile, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said the behaviour of the Congress legislators, who had stormed the Well of the Lower House “will not be tolerated”. “I am hurt by whatever happened in Parliament today,” he said, according to PTI. “It is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.”
Birla has reportedly sought apologies from two Kerala MPs Hibi Eden and TN Prathapan, the news agency said, citing sources. It is being considered whether the two can be suspended for five years for obstructing the Parliament proceedings.
Congress leaders shouted slogans such as “samvidhan ki hatya bandh karo”, or “stop the murder of the Constitution”. The party’s Interim President Sonia Gandhi led the protests. Visuals of Gandhi along with several other leaders from the party were seen outside the Parliament. They were carrying banners that read: “Stop horse-trading, stop dirty politics” among others.