Decrease punishment, no legislative business, says BJD member

NEW DELHI, Aug 4: The suspension of 25 Congress MPs and the resultant boycott by several parties had its echo in Lok Sabha today with a BJD member seeking “decrease in the punishment” meted out to the members and saying legislative work should not be taken up in the absence of opposition.

Tathagath Sathpathy referred to the suspension at the fag end of his submission on the situation caused in parts of Odisha due to severe floods.

Congress, as also NCP, AAP, TMC, Left, RJD, JD(U), SP and Muslim League boycotted the House to show solidarity with the suspended members.

He said that since several opposition members were not in the House today, official business like passage of bills should not be taken up.

“I would request that while the Government is troubled with the proceedings in the House and while we admire your perseverence and your patience in dealing with the situation which has troubled the whole country, we would request you to decrease the punishment that you have meted out to the opposition,” Sathpathy said.

He underlined that “in parliamentary democracy, opposition is a part of the process. So, no Government business should take place without the presence of the opposition.

25 of Congress party’s 44 members were suspended yesterday for five working days for continuously disrupting the House by demanding resignation of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje over Lalit Modi issue and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over Vyapam scam.

AIADMK leader P Venugopal, who was the only opposition member sitting on the first column of opposition benches in the wake of the suspension and the boycott, sought to raise the issue of suspension but was disallowed by the Speaker.

She told him that he cannot raise the issue of suspension as the matter cannot be discussed in the House. She said she thought he wanted to raise issue concerning fishermen.

BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab had also indicated that he wanted to raise the issue after Venugopal.

Despite the absence of Congress members and that of several opposition parties, the House did witness protests with YSR Congress members, carrying placards, storming the Well seeking special category status for Andhra Pradesh.

TRS members, with slogans written on paper pinned to their shirts, also staged protests from the aisle demanding separate High Court for Telangana.

The House then took up the discussion on Demands for Excess Grants (Railways). (PTI)


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