Eight MPs suspended from Lok Sabha
New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, the Lok Sabha yesterday suspended eight Congress MPs from the Telangana region after the party itself moved a motion against them for causing repeated disruptions in the house over the issue of separate statehood to the region. The suspension is for four days.
Though suspension of unruly MPs is not new, the ruling party recommending the suspension of its own members is virtually unheard of.
The Lok Sabha passed the motion moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal with a voice vote after protesting MPs led by Ponnam Prabhakar repeatedly disrupted the house in the morning on the first day of the resumed budget session.
Others barred from entering the house include Madhu Yaskhi Goud, M. Jagannath, K.R.G. Reddy, G. Vivekananda, Balram Naik, Gutha Sukender Reddy and S. Rajaiah.
The MPs earlier created ruckus in the house demanding that Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh be declared a separate state — an issue that has been dragging for the last two years and has triggered violent protests in the state.
They were first warned of action if they didn't move to their seats after their protests led to two adjournments of the house in the morning.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee were in the house as the party MPs from Telangana disrupted proceedings, refusing to heed the requests of senior ministers P Chidambaram and Bansal to get back to their seats.
Francisco Sardinha, who was presiding over the house, allowed Bansal to move the motion and announced their suspension following a recommendation by the finance minister who is also leader of the Lok Sabha.
Congress sources said it was a "calculated risk" because the suspension could backfire when the government needs numbers in the house to pass the finance bill.
The sources said that the government had taken opposition leaders into confidence and there was no need to worry particularly after Mukherjee met Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav and the CPI's Gurudas Dasgupta.
"It was an unfortunate decision taken with a heavy heart. But we didn't want some MPs to hold the house at ransom. We tried to talk to them but they didn't listen," Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V. Narayansamy told IANS.
He expressed the hope that the opposition would support the government and vote for the proposed finance bills likely to be taken up and voted on May 7.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) leader Sitaram Yechury said the suspension was "unprecedented" because the members of the ruling party were suspended by their own party.
"We've had earlier suspension of opposition members for various things," Yechury told reporters.
Yechury didn't criticise the suspension but asked the government to break the logjam on the Telangana issue. "The onus of responsibility for this continuing impasse lies squarely with the central government and the Congress. So this we think has already caused sufficient damage and distress in the state and it's time that some decision is taken and the government has to take some decision."