Editor’s Note: In the past two days, several Rajya Sabha MPs suspended recently have been hounded by online trolls on the basis of an intentional misrepresentation of TNM story’s headline. While the headline, blurb and the story make it very clear as to who said what, certain trolls have intentionally misrepresented it to attack the MPs, especially Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi. She has since reached out to us to issue a clarification.
In the interest of reducing the online hate and trolling directed at her, we have altered the headline to make it clear that she did not make a statement on Savarkar.
Several opposition parties including the Congress on Tuesday, November 29, walked out from the Parliament to protest the suspension of 12 opposition MPs from the Rajya Sabha and boycotted the day's proceedings in the Upper House after the chairman asked them to apologise. Eight opposition party leaders led by Mallikarjun Kharge met Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and urged him to revoke the suspension, which was initiated over ruckus created during the Monsoon Session. Naidu, sources told PTI, said that revoking the suspension may not be possible without proper functioning of the House and a sincere regret for their misconduct.
Speaking to reporters, Binoy Viswam from the Communist Party of India (CPI), who was one of the members suspended, said there was no plan to apologise, “What apology? We are not Savarkar to apologise. It is not our culture to write letters of apology."
"This is a government that looks down at parliamentary procedure and at the opposition. This is a government that believes there is no need for opposition. We will not bend before them," Binoy added. He also said that he will look at legal avenues to challenge the move. However, Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai have distanced themselved from this remark.
"Apology for what? For raising the issues of the people in Parliament? Never," Congress leader Rahul Gandhi declared in a tweet in Hindi. Of the 12 MPs suspended for the entire winter session on Monday, November 29, six are from the Congress, two each from the TMC and Shiv Sena and one each from the CPI(M) and the CPI.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, had raised the issue and said that the suspension was contrary to rules of the House. "The Members have been suspended over a conduct which occurred in the previous session and is against the rules of the House," the LoP said, adding that the question of apologising does not arise.
John Brittas, CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP who joined the protest on Tuesday, said that in the initial list of 33 MPs who created a ruckus, Elamaram Kareem was not mentioned. "The list by the Rajya Sabha Secretary General did not mention CPI(M) MP Elamaram Kareem. Then why was he suspended?" Brittas asked.
Elamaram Kareem also reacted and said that a meeting of opposition leaders on November 30 morning had decided to boycott both houses of the Parliament. "The MPs who were suspended will protest everyday outside the Parliament. It is illegal to take this kind of action based on what happened in a previous session. The matter should have been referred to a privileges committee."
After the walkout, opposition MPs demonstrated in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue inside Parliament complex, raising slogans against the government and its "dictatorial attitude" and saying they would continue to raise their voices on the matter.
When the House resumed after lunch in the afternoon, Leader of House Piyush Goyal explained the suspension of the 12 members from the House on Monday, saying a resolution was passed for the purpose. He demanded that all those guilty of disrupting the House in the Monsoon Session should not only apologise to the Chair but also the House and the nation as well.
However, Congress leaders have maintained that the move was against the rules and practices of the House. Accusing the government of adopting the path of confrontation with the opposition, the Congress said talk of cooperation in the smooth running of the House "is a sham".
"We have decided to oppose the way democracy has been tattered in Rajya Sabha by suspending 12 MPs. We have decided to oppose such a dictatorial attitude of the government," Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, said after the walkout.
This government, he added, is not giving opposition MPs the opportunity to speak inside the house. "The government wants to threaten the opposition and suppress their voice by suspending its members in Rajya Sabha. We cannot keep quiet about the suspension of our members in the Rajya Sabha," Chowdhury told reporters outside Parliament.
The 12 MPs suspended for the remaining part of the Winter Session for their misconduct and unruly behaviour during the last session include Congress' Chhaya Verma, Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi and TMC's Dola Sen among others.
With IANS and PTI inputs