Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan yesterday suspended 25 lawmakers of the opposition Congress party for five days for disrupting the proceedings of the House.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi held a meeting with party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Kamal Nath to chalk out their strategy. Jaitley later said, “Her reply caused desperation in Congress. That’s why the opposition party wanted her statement expunged from records”, he said. Expressing solidarity with Congress, Janata Dal (United) vowed to obstruct the Rajya Sabha and boycott the Lok Sabha.
He also slammed the Congress for running a “campaign of calumny” against Swaraj, who he said is one of the “best performing ministers” of the government.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also joined the protests. Fence sitting opposition parties have now decided to stand by the Congress not because they agree with its demands but because they believe this will set a unsafe precedent and could also be used against them in the future. She refused to adjourn the house despite more than 40 opposition MPs holding noisy protests and displaying placards.
While addressing the ruckus creators, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan is believed to have said, “I am sorry…You have to come to the Well of the House…You have been persistently and willfully obstructing the business of the House”.
Sonia had ripped into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on “monumental corruption” at this morning’s meeting of the Congress parliamentary party, but many insiders privately voiced concern about the outcome of their tactic of disruption. He said the CVC too has not pointed out any wrongdoing.
All the Congress members protesting in the well, however, kept up their high decibel protest inside the house even while their names were being read out.
The BJP has said it is prepared for a discussion on the issue in parliament but its leaders and ministers will not resign. Singh said while Opposition has an important role in parliamentary democracy, the House should be allowed to function.
Mr Bandhopadhyay and Mr Karunakaran urged the Speaker not to suspend the members, saying the warring parties should be given a change to resolve the issue as they are “experienced politicians”.
The Congress-led opposition parties continued to demand the resignation of Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for their alleged help to disgraced cricket tycoon Lalit Modi and of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over the Vyapam recruitment scam.