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Record 19 MPs suspended for unruly behaviour as Oppn protests rock RS



New Delhi: A record 19 MPs from opposition parties were suspended from Rajya Sabha on Tuesday for the rest of the week after they continued to disrupt proceedings to press for an immediate discussion on price rise and levy of GST on essential items.
The development, which came a day after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Prakash Birla suspended four Congress MPs for the rest of the current Monsoon session, is likely to further intensify the standoff between the Opposition and the government, which insisted that the discussion will be held once Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recovers from COVID-19.
An unrelenting Opposition created a ruckus in Rajya Sabha, with the penalised MPs refusing to leave the House, and alleged that “democracy has been suspended” in the country.
Of the 19 MPs suspended from Rajya Sabha, seven belong to the Trinamool Congress, six are from the DMK, three from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), two from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and one from the Communist Party of India (CPI).
The first seven days of the Monsoon session were virtually washed out as the two Houses were rocked by Opposition protests to press for an immediate discussion on rising prices of fuel and essential commodities as well as levy of GST on wheat, rice, flour, curd and other daily use items.
On Tuesday too, Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for an hour after it assembled but Deputy Chairman Harivansh managed to conduct Question Hour despite opposition MPs trooping into the well and shouting slogans.
But in the post-lunch session, when the government legislative business was to be taken up, Harivansh repeatedly asked the protesting members to return to their seats and warned them of action.
Senior opposition leaders like Ramgopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, TMC’s Derek O’Brien and others demanded the suspension of business to discuss price rise but the chair wanted The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022 to be discussed.
When his pleas went unheeded, Harivansh asked the treasury benches to move a resolution for suspension.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V Muraleedharan moved a motion to suspend 10 MPs – seven from the TMC, Mohamed Abdulla and Kanimozhi NVN Somu of the DMK and AA Rahim of the CPM – from the sitting of the House for the remainder of the week for their “misconduct” by showing “utter disregard to the House and authority of the chair”.
The TMC MPs were Sushmita Dev, Mausam Noor, Shanta Chhetri, Dola Sen, Santanu Sen, Abir Ranjan Biswas and Md. Nadimul Haque.
Nine more names – B Lingaiah Yadav, Ravichandra Vaddiraju and Damodar Rao Divakonda of the TRS; S Kalyanasundaram, R Girirajan, NR Elango and M Shanmugam of the DMK, CPM’s V Sivadasan and Santhosh Kumar P of CPI were added – when Harivansh put the motion to vote.
MPs from Congress, which has been part of the protests over the price rise issue, were agitating outside the House over ED action against party president Sonia Gandhi in the National Herald case.
The motion to suspend was passed by a voice vote. When some opposition MPs demanded a division of votes, the chair said he would do so if the members returned to their seats and the House was brought to order.
With the MPs refusing to budge, he said it seems they are not interested in the division and declared that the motion has been adopted.
This is the highest number of suspensions at a go in Rajya Sabha as the previous record was on the first day of the Winter session in November last year when 12 MPs were suspended for the ruckus they had created in the previous Monsoon session in August.
A 13th MP, Derek O’Brien, was suspended on the last day of that session, while seven MPs were suspended for “unruly” behaviour during the passage of farm laws in the Monsoon session of 2020.

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