The Lok Sabha on Thursday suspended Congress Leader of the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for unruly conduct and causing repeated disturbances and sent his case to the privileges committee.
Mr. Chowdhary will remain suspended till the committee takes a decision. This effectively means that there is no timeline for his reinstatement.
This is probably the first time that the Leader of the largest Opposition Party in the Lok Sabha has been suspended in the recent past.
As soon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded his speech in reply to the debate on the no-confidence motion, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi moved a resolution to send the matter of deliberate misbehaviour by Mr. Chowdhary to Committee on Privileges and suspended him till Committee takes a decision.
The resolution was passed by a voice-vote.
BJP MP from Ballia, Virendra Singh Mast, who had moved menacingly towards Mr. Chowdhary after he made certain remarks during his speech on the no-confidence motion earlier in the day apologised to the chair saying he could not tolerate any insult to his leader.
During his speech, Mr. Chowdhary while referring to the Mahabharata had said that the king should not be blind to what is happening against women whether it is in Hastinapur or Manipur.
His comments evoked a sharp reaction from Home Minister Amit Shah who urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to ask Mr. Chaudhary to exercise restraint.
Certain sections of his remarks were later expunged by the Speaker.
Mr. Chowdhury had said that the violence in Manipur is not a small issue as the state was facing ethnic violence and civil war. “It has assumed global dimension and was discussed in the European Parliament as well as in America. Manipur issue cannot be confined to any state...and that is why Prime Minister’s intervention is indispensable”.
Stating that his suspension is the outcome of a brute majority of the BJP in the Lok Sabha, Mr. Chowdhury said he used metaphors to explain a ruler’s “silence” and being “blind” to the suffering of the people.
“I am not only ready to have an open debate with Pralhad Joshi or anyone in the BJP. If I have used any word in wrong context in people’s eyes, I am ready to quit politics,” Mr. Chowdhury said.
Writing on X (formerly Twitter), Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said, “In the last phase, the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary was suspended, which is very undemocratic and unfortunate. It reflects the arrogance and maliciousness of those in power”.
“This tradition will prove very fatal for both the constitution and parliamentary democracy. We strongly condemn it,” Mr. Kharge added.