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Stormy start to parliament, 8 Congress MPs suspended (Roundup)

Delhi,Politics, Tue, 24 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) In an unprecedented move, the Congress Tuesday moved to get eight of its MPs suspended from the Lok Sabha for repeatedly disrupting the house over separate statehood to Telangana as the second half of parliament's budget session got off to a stormy start.




Suspension of unruly MPs is not new in the house, but the ruling party recommending it against its own members is virtually unheard of.


The Lok Sabha passed the motion moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.K. Bansal by a voice vote after protesting MPs led by Ponnam Prabhakar repeatedly disrupted the house that reconvened after three-week recess of the budget session.


The MPs, who were suspended for four days, also include Madhu Yaskhi Goud, M. Jagannath, K.R.G. Reddy, G. Viveknanda, Balram Naik, Sukender Reddy Gutha and S. Rajaiah.


The MPs had created a ruckus in the house demanding that Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh be declared a separate state.


They were first warned of action if they didn't move to their seats after their protests led to three adjournments of the house - the last one for the day without doing any significant business.


Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee were in the house as the party MPs disrupted proceedings, refusing to heed the requests of senior ministers P. Chidambaram and P.K. Bansal to get back to their seats.


Some of the protesting MPs trooped out of their seats towards the speaker's chair.


When the house resumed its sitting after the brief disruption, the scenes were repeated. But Meira Kumar quickly went through the list of business, asking ministers and members to lay papers as per the list of business for the day.


The speaker called for zero hour, but the shouting and disruptions continued, resulting in her adjourning to meet at 2 p.m. when it was adjourned again.


When the house met at 2.30 p.m., Francisco Sardinha, who was presiding over the house, allowed Bansal to move the motion and announced the suspension of Congress MPs following a recommendation by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee 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 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 Left'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 will support the government and vote for the proposed finance bills likely to be taken up and voted May 7.


Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the suspension was "unprecedented" because the members of the ruling party were suspended by their own party.


Yechury didn't criticise the suspension but asked the government to break the logjam on the Telangana issue.


While the Lok Sabha witnessed stormy protests, the Rajya Sabha was mostly peaceful with 50 new members, including BJP's Arun Jaitley and Mayawati of the Bahujan Samaj Party, taking oath. Amongst the others were union ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Rajeev Shukla as well as Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi and actor Jaya Bachchan.


The house also took up a bill to include children with disabilities in the ambit of the Right to Education.


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