In an embarrassment for the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, eight Congress MPs from Telangana were suspended for four days from the Lok Sabha for repeatedly indulging in bouts of slogan-shouting and unruly behaviour that disrupted the proceedings of the House as the second part of the budget session of Parliament resumed on Tuesday after a three-week recess.
The suspension from “the service of the House” came after a motion moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal sought the unprecedented action against them.
The MPs were demanding that a separate Telangana State be carved out of Andhra Pradesh. They forced three adjournments.
The action was taken by the ruling Congress against its own Lok Sabha members — Ponnam Prabhakar, Madhu Goud Yaskhi, Manda Jagannath, Gutha Sukhender Reddy, K.R.G. Reddy, Rajaiah Siricilla, Porika Balram Naik, and Dr. Gaddam Vivekanand — as the motion moved by Mr. Bansal was carried by a voice vote. Francisco Sardinha, who was in the Chair, had warned the MPs of action if they failed to return to their seats.
Besides, Mr. Bansal, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and several other leaders tried to persuade them to return to their seats but to no avail. Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee were present when the protests took place.
“I have received your notice. I will allow you to raise the issue during zero hour. Let the question hour continue,'' Speaker Meira Kumar told the agitating members who sought suspension of question hour.
As the MPs continued to raise slogans, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon.
When the House met at noon, a similar scene prevailed, though important papers were tabled and zero hour was taken up for sometime before the Speaker adjourned the House until 2 p.m.
Even as the House reassembled after two adjournments, the eight trooped inside the well holding placards and posters, supporting a separate State and chanting slogans like “We Want Telangana.” They continued to stage a sit-in protest in the well, forcing half-an-hour adjournment of the House. As the MPs refused to move out of the well even after the House reassembled at 2.30 p.m., Mr. Sardinha adjourned the House for the day.
Observers said that it was perhaps the first time in recent times that members of the ruling party were suspended from either House of Parliament.