Slamming the government over the suspension of over 140 MPs, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor claimed on Wednesday that a ”dubious record” had been created as in no country had so many lawmakers been suspended together and alleged that parliamentary democracy has been ”betrayed and reduced to a travesty”.
Speaking with reporters after participating in the opposition protest over the suspension of MPs, Tharoor, who was himself suspended on Tuesday, said that with the suspension of so many opposition MPs, the history of parliamentary democracy has been ”besmirched” in our country.
What has been seen in the country in the last few days is a ”travesty of parliamentary democracy”, he said.
”I did a bit of research, never in the entire history of Parliamentary democracy has any Parliament in any country in the world ever suspended or expelled 150 people. That is the dubious record being set in our Parliament this week,” he said.
Everyone understands that the basic principle of parliamentary democracy is the accountability of the council of ministers to Parliament, Tharoor said.
”When Parliament is in session, on anything that happens, the government’s duty is to come to Parliament and discuss it with them before going out,” he said.
”When the opposition called for a discussion on the security breach and requested that the home minister should come and speak to Parliament, as you all know, the home minister did not come. He was giving statements outside to the media and giving press interviews, but he was not prepared to speak inside Parliament. This is why the opposition protested and I must say that the reaction has been disproportionate to the actual offense of protesting,” Tharoor asserted.
The protest was for a very democratic parliamentary reason, which was to have the home minister come and initiate a discussion, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.
As many as 49 more opposition lawmakers were suspended from Lok Sabha on Tuesday for unruly behaviour, taking the total number of MPs facing action in both Houses of Parliament to 141 and prompting the INDIA coalition to announce nationwide anti-government protests on Friday Tharoor stressed that the opposition had come to this Winter Session determined to cooperate fully with the functioning of Parliament.
The opposition wanted to participate in major debates on matters of national importance, he said.
But what has been seen sadly is that the government has no interest in letting the opposition function responsibly in Parliament, he alleged.
”We have seen when we were in power how important it was to accommodate the opposition’s interests. If we had been in this position, we would have had the home minister come for 10 minutes; we would have had a discussion for half an hour or 45 minutes, which would have defused the situation. Instead, time has been wasted; the history of parliamentary democracy has been besmirched in our country,” he said.
”Today we are leaving this House in the feeling that our entire parliamentary democracy has been betrayed and reduced to a travesty,” Tharoor added.