Both houses of Parliament witnessed uproarious scenes on Monday as Congress-led Opposition continued to press for resignations of tainted NDA leaders allegedly involved in Lalitgate and the Vyapam recruitment scam. The all-party meeting called by the Centre also failed to end the ongoing stalemate in Parliament even though the government threw indications that PM Narendra Modi may intervene and make a statement over a host of issues, including the ‘Lalitgate’ controversy and the Vyapam scam.
Congress-led opposition parties continued to stall the proceedings of Parliament, inviting the ire of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, who went on to suspend at least 25 opposition MPs for five days.
Reacting to the decision of the Lok Sabha Speaker to suspend the MPs, Congress president Sonia Gandhi termed it as a “black day in the history of India’s Parliamentary democracy”.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) also decided to boycott Lok Sabha proceedings for five days to show solidarity with suspended Congress members.
Condemning the decision of the Speaker, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused Mahajan of “not allowing the opposition to speak”. “Democratic processes are not being respected. It is a black day, they want to suppress and oppress us,” he said.
Kharge further said that protesting and raising banners was nothing new. “The Lok Sabha Speaker herself used to get out of her seat to protest when she was a member of opposition,” he said.
Mahajan, however, defended her decision, saying “this is the best I could do”.
“This is a message to every MP who will behave like this. I do agree it is a stringent act, but I was left with no option,” said Mahajan.
This came even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a brief statement in Rajya Sabha, claiming she never requested the UK government for former Indian Premier League (IPL) Lalit Modi’s travel papers. Her remarks were, however, drowned by Opposition sloganeering.
Earlier on Monday, the opposition parties targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the “brazen attitude” of the government.
Questioning PM Modi’s silence on the issue of Lalitgate and Vyapam, Sonia Gandhi said, “The champion of Mann Ki Baat retreats into Maun Vrat when there’s scandal involving his ministers.”
Left leader Sitaram Yechury also hit out at Prime Minister Modi, saying he becomes “Maunendra Modi on issue of corruption”.
We are boycotting Speaker’s decision. We are supporting Congress on this issue, says Kalyan Banerjee of TMC.
She (Speaker) is guardian of Parliament, our suspension has send a wrong message, will protest for 5 days, says Ninong Ering.
In the last two decades, I have not seen such a thing. The voice of Opposition is being muzzled, says Rajeev Shukla of Congress.