Protests to intensify in Rajya Sabha

Suspended Rajya Sabha MPs stage a dharna near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi demanding revocation of their suspension, during the Winter Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, Monday, Dec. 6, 2021   | Photo Credit: PTI

Opposition parties have decided to intensify protests inside the Rajya Sabha on the suspension of 12 House members, overruling a view that House disruption should be calibrated to allow them to have their say but to stop the government from having its way. Opposition leaders have decided that the protests in the Upper House should not spill over to the Lower House.

It has been a week since the 12 MPs have been are on a sit-in at the Gandhi statue in Parliament during its working hours. The government wants an individual apology on the floor of the House from them for their “misconduct” during the monsoon session but they are not willing to relent.

The first adjournment on Monday came within 10 minutes after the House sat down for the day in the morning. At 12:00, when the House reconvened, it worked for 18 minutes amidst cacophonous protests from the Opposition. Later in the day, the House saw two more adjournments before winding up for the day at 4:00 p.m. The Opposition did not participate in a debate on price rise that was listed for the day.

Parliament proceedings updates | December 6, 2021

The Opposition parties had two rounds of meetings before the session and another one during the lunch break. According to sources, a section of Congress leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh, wanted the House to run to allow the Opposition to seek clarifications on Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement on Nagaland. But the other Opposition parties and a section of Congress leaders vehemently opposed the idea.

‘A cheap stunt’

Trinamool Congress’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’ Brien said the House functioning could not return to normal till the return of the 12 MPs. He questioned the government’s sincerity in organising the debate on price rise, dismissing it as a cheap stunt. “The government is accountable to Parliament and Parliament is accountable to people. If Modi and Shah do not let Parliament function, then they are not accountable to anyone,” he stated.

Also read: Why should we apologise, ask 12 suspended MPs

DMK’s Tiruchi Siva said it was wrong to say that the Opposition is shrugging off its responsibility. “We are not giving up on issues of public importance. The Lok Sabha is functioning and each party in the Rajya Sabha is also present there. They are raising these issues and asking the necessary questions to the government,” he observed.

CPI(M)’s Elamaram Kareem, who is one of the 12 suspended MPs too made this distinction between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. “We will continue our struggle in the Rajya Sabha over the undemocratic and arbitrary suspension and in the Lok Sabha, our colleagues will ask questions and raise other issues,” he said.

The 12 members who have been suspended because they were demanding greater parliamentary scrutiny, also deserve to participate in the price rise debate, AAP’s Sanjay Singh noted. “It’s a violation of the rights of the 12 members. They too want to debate the issue of price rise, why should they not get an opportunity. We told the Chair that we will participate in the debate, when these 12 members are allowed to return,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 4:43:34 AM |

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