Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday suspended seven Congress MPs from attending the House on the remaining days of the Budget Session for disrupting proceedings, ANI reported. Ruckus in the Lower House continued for the third day as Opposition leaders protested against the violence in North East Delhi.
The leaders who were suspended on charges of gross misconduct were Gaurav Gogoi, TN Prathapan, Dean Kuriakose, R Unnithan, Manickam Tagore, Benny Behnan and Gurjeet Singh Aujla.
Presiding over the Lower House’s proceedings, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi took a vote on the suspension of the Congress leaders. “Such unfortunate incident has possibly happened for the first time in the parliamentary history,” she said while naming the MPs. “I condemn this behaviour.” Lekhi added that some parliamentarians had “forcefully” snatched and thrown around documents from the Speaker’s podium when discussions on the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, was going on.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi moved the suspension motion, which was passed by a voice vote. Following this, Lekhi asked the Congress MPs to leave the Lok Sabha chambers, and adjourned the House for the day.
BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal said that when he was presiding in the Lok Sabha at 1 pm, papers were “torn up and thrown at the Chair”. “It shows the irresponsible behaviour of our parliamentarians and goes against the dignity of the Parliament,” he told ANI.
Birla, who was not present for the second day, was saddened by the behaviour of some members, Biju Janata Dal MP B Mahtab told the House earlier in the day. Mahtab, who was presiding over the proceedings in Birla’s absence, chided the parliamentarians for disrupting the proceedings. He said Birla had “every right to express his anguish”. The House was first adjourned till noon as many chanted slogans of “we want justice”, and then till 2 pm.
Gogoi, one of the suspended Congress MPs, said: “Suspend us for a year, but discuss Delhi riots and heal wounds of people.”
“Is this a dictatorship?” Congress Leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told ANI. “It seems [the] government doesn’t want Delhi violence issue to be discussed in Parliament that is why this suspension. We strongly condemn this.”
Ruckus ensued later in the day during a discussion on the novel coronavirus when Bharatiya Janata Party MP Hanuman Beniwal said Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi should be tested for the infection as nearly half of the patients in India are Italians. Italy, the country of Sonia Gandhi’s birth, is one of the worst-affected countries by the outbreak. Beniwal’s comments were met with a massive uproar from Opposition leaders.