New Delhi: As the government on Wednesday said that it will recommend that the suspension of Opposition MPs be revoked by the Chair if they apologise and assures that henceforth no placards will be shown in the House, Rajya Sabha adopted a motion to suspend Aam Aadmi Party member Sanjay Singh for the remaining part of the week for his “unruly behaviour” in the House.
With this, 24 Opposition MPs — 20 from the Rajya Sabha and four from the Lok Sabha — have been suspended from the ongoing session of Parliament for their alleged unruly behaviour and creating a ruckus in Parliament.
The suspension of AAP MP Singh comes a day after 19 MPs from Opposition were suspended for their unruly behaviour in the Rajya Sabha.
Soon after the House met for the Question Hour at noon, the deputy chairman Harivansh invoked Rule 256 and named Singh for tearing papers and throwing it at the Chair on Tuesday.
The deputy chairman said Singh's action was in utter disregard of the rules and the authority of the Chair. Soon thereafter, minister of state for parliamentary affairs V. Muraleedharan moved a motion to suspend Singh from the House for the remainder of the week. The motion was adopted by voice vote, even as Opposition members continued to raise uproar in the well of the House.
However, the government took a reconciliatory stand in the afternoon when the Opposition members in the Lok Sabha raised the issue and sought revocation of the MPs’ suspension.
Reacting to the Opposition’s appeal, the parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said, "With the Speaker's permission, we are ready to withdraw, but are you ready to take guarantee that they will not come inside with placards and will not come into the well?"
He said that from the time of the all-party meeting till this morning, the government has categorically said that it is ready for the debates demanded by the Opposition. "I also requested that if you want the debate today, we are ready for it. Despite this, the whole of last week was wasted by them (Opposition) and it is happening again," said Joshi.
“If they want we are ready to take it (suspension) back, but will they take a guarantee that they will not come into the well with placards and will not place the placards before the face of the speaker," he said.
He asked if the Opposition members were ready to take the guarantee on behalf of their parties and the Congress.
As the House met at 2 pm after it was disrupted twice in the morning, NCP leader Supriya Sule said the Opposition is willing to cooperate with the government for the smooth functioning of the House. "Yesterday and we request today also that four of our members should be forgiven and brought back to the House. We want a debate; we want to cooperate with the government. Allow our members to come back and we will not go into the Well of the House," Sule said after the chair, Rama Devi, allowed her to speak on the impasse in the House.
"I am saying it on behalf of the Opposition that we want to run the House," Ms Sule added.
Trinamul Congress’ Sudip Bandyopadhyay also said the suspension of the four members should be revoked if it is the feeling of the House. "(Pralhad) Joshi ji has announced that the government is prepared to have a discussion on price rise, we are also prepared to take part in the debate. Let this issue be sorted out and let the debate start," he said.
DMK's A. Raja said, "What happened yesterday is not healthy for democracy. I have been on both sides in the House. Coming to the Well, democratically protesting with placards is not unknown to this House.
"With folded hands, I say don't value numerical strength in this House. Healthy debate will not stand before numerical strength. Please reconsider, withdraw the decision and thereafter, we are willing to participate in the debates. On behalf of the DMK, I say that the suspension be withdrawn immediately," he said.
Meanwhile, the 20 Opposition MPs, who were suspended from the Rajya Sabha for disrupting proceedings, on Wednesday, started a 50-hour-long protest inside the Parliament complex.
The MPs are holding the relay protest near the Gandhi statue and will stay at the site through the night, TMC MP Dola Sen, who is one of the suspended parliamentarians, said.