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BW Businessworld

Opposition Attacks Government Over Suspension of Congress MPs

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The Congress kept up the pressure on the Government on Tuesday (4 August) even as some Opposition parties like the Trinamool Congress, Biju Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party tried to soften the Lok Sabha Speaker, in a bid to get the suspension of 25 Congress Lok Sabha members revoked.
 
“Something is being worked out. Let’s wait till tomorrow,” said an Opposition law-maker, speaking to Businessworld.
 
A Union Minister too confirmed to BW that this was very much possible, “but the decision entirely rested with the Speaker”.
 
The Speaker’s office refused to confirm any such move.
 
The Congress, meanwhile, vowed to take its protest from “Parliament to the streets” with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi leading the charge. The duo reiterated that democracy “had been murdered” in the Lower House.
 
Congress members also decided to boycott the land bill joint committee meeting, scheduled for Tuesday. The meeting has been rescheduled for Monday, as a result.
 
The BJP has done a massive climbdown, and the 30-member joint parliamentary committee is now arriving at a consensus on a 2013-like land acquisition bill. “JPC is like a mini-Parliament. We will accept their recommendations,” said rural development minister Birender Singh, signaling the inevitable.
 
While many lawmakers in the Lower House urged the Speaker to reconsider her suspension order, many wondered whether the disciplinary action that the Lok Sabha Speaker had resorted to, could be repeated in the Upper House.
 
In the Upper House, the Congress members kept on their protests and slogan shouting, as they repeatedly rushed into the Well, much against the wishes of the Chair. The Presiding Officer, however, desisted from taking the extreme measure of suspension of the members.
 
Even as talks were on to revoke the suspension of the suspended Congress members in the Lok Sabha, the Congress said it won’t budge from its position. Rahul Gandhi said that the demand for resignations of Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan was “People’s demand” and not just the “party’s demand”.
 
Government sources conceded that even if the suspension of the Congress members was revoked there were little chances of crucial economic legislations, including the GST, passed through in the current session of Parliament.