For the first time in India’s parliamentary history, 78 lawmakers were suspended in a single day.
A large swath of INDIA Alliance MPs were dismissed on Monday, with a further 49 excluded today making a total of 141 suspended.
The alliance, which has 142 MPs in the lower house and 101 MPs in the upper chamber, is a coalition of opposition parties which hope to unseat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in next year’s general election.
But both houses of parliament have been rocked by protests by MPs demanding a statement from prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah on last week’s security breach.
Image: Narendra Modi
On 13 December, two men jumped from the visitors’ gallery into the chamber at Lok Sabha – India’s lower house of parliament – and set off cannisters of coloured smoke.
No one was injured in the breach, but it occurred while parliament was in session. Six people have been arrested so far and a police investigation is taking place.
While suspending the protesting MPs, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla said: “You may criticise the government, but is it proper to stage protests like this?
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“Do you want to set a precedent of such kind of protests? It was completely against the rules, regulations and proprieties to bring placards in the House.”
Opposition politicians are furious at the suspensions and argue that they allow Modi’s BJP to pass legislation without debate in parliament.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said: “At this point, unfortunately, we have to start writing obituaries for parliamentary democracy in India.”
Congress leader Karti Chidambaram added: “This is going to resemble the North Korean Assembly.
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Indian MPs confront parliament intruders
“The only thing missing is clapping, that when the Prime Minister comes and gets his bills passed and gets endorsed by a rubber stamp house.”
And Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said on X: “First, intruders attacked Parliament. Then Modi Govt attacking Parliament & Democracy.
“All Democratic norms are being thrown into the dustbin by an autocratic Modi Govt with an Opposition-less Parliament, the government can now bulldoze important pending legislations, crush any dissent, without any debate.”
In an interview with newspaper Dainik Jagran, Modi said the breach was “a very serious issue,” but added: “There is no need to debate this, there should be a detailed investigation.”
And addressing his party’s MPs on Tuesday, the prime minister said: “They should not get shaken by the theatrics of the Opposition.
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Image: Pic: AP
“The Opposition is rattled by assembly poll losses and is disrupting the Parliament session in frustration”.
After the suspensions, the session was resumed in the Lower House – where a number of bills were passed with two-thirds of opposition MPs out of the chamber.
These included key Criminal Law Amendment Bills, which overhaul India’s criminal codes and, among other changes, widen the definition of terrorism to incorporate threats to the “economic security” of the country.
A block of 28 opposition parties will meet later to shape their strategy against Modi and the BJP.
Source : Sky News