The Lok Sabha once again faced disruption on Monday, as Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi joined a protest by Kerala MPs of various parties over the alleged mishandling of E Ahamed’s death.
The protesting MPs covered their mouths with black tape, and held placards that read, “We are E Ahamed Sahab”.
Following the repeated disruption of both Houses during the Winter Session over the issue of demonetisation, the government had hoped for smoother proceedings in the Budget session. However, IUML MP E Ahamed’s death on April 1, and the government’s decision to go ahead with the presentation of the Budget despite this, raised a new controversy.
Hours ahead of the budget, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge had called for postponement of the budget and adjourning the proceedings of the House of the day, according to the extant practice in case of the death of a sitting MP. It was not only the Congress that asked the government to call off the presentation of the Budget – the Left parties and even NDA ally Shiv Sena had joined in on the appeal.
However, Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan refused the demand, saying that the presentation of the budget was a “constitutional obligation”.
A former Minister of State for External Affairs, Ahamed had been hospitalised the previous day after he suffered a cardiac arrest during the President’s address to a joint session of Parliament.
Ahamed was initially admitted to the emergency department of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. He was shifted to the trauma centre of the hospital after he showed no signs of revival, and was put on life support. However, he passed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
It was not only the government’s decision to go ahead with the Budget that created controversy. The senior MP’s family also alleged that they were treated badly.
They alleged that the details of his medical condition were not shared with them, and they were not allowed to visit him.