M A I N   N E W S

Elders stoop lower; 7 MPs suspended, evicted
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
After an unprecedented low on Monday, the House of Elders stooped even deeper today. Seven “honourable” Rajya Sabha MPs were first suspended for unruly behaviour and then physically ousted by marshals after they refused to leave the House.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari suspended Subhash Yadav (RJD), Sabir Ali (LJP), Veerpal Singh Yadav, Nand Kishore Yadav, Amir Alam Khan and Kamal Akhtar (SP), and Ejaz Ali (expelled JD-U) for the remaining Budget session for their conduct in the House yesterday when the Women’s Reservation Bill was moved for discussion.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called up Ansari and expressed regret over yesterday’s events in the Upper House. He also apologised to the Vice-President for hitherto unheard of scenes after debate on the Bill ended.

RJD supremo Lalu Prasad also said he had apologised to Ansari, who was nearly assaulted by MPs opposing to the Bill. However, the seven suspended members remained unapologetic.

The members who created pandemonium after Law Minister Veerappa Moily moved the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill , carried on with their protests today as well, forcing the adjournment of the House as soon as it met for the day.

The motion for their suspension was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Prithviraj Chavan and cleared by voice vote. The action against members under Rule 256 was taken for showing total “disregard for dignity of council and authority of the chair” by obstructing business of the House. Even after suspension, the seven squatted in the well of the House and refused to leave. They stayed put even when the House reassembled at 2 pm, forcing another adjournment till 3 pm. Though Rajniti Prasad of the RJD was not named, he, too, joined the suspended members and sat with them, leaving security staff in a fix on how to tackle an unprecedented situation.

But that was not all. When the House reassembled at 3 pm, protestors continued raising slogans. Amid the shouting, Ansari took up discussion on the Bill and asked Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley to speak. As Ansari announced voting, suspended members turned aggressive and tried to throw books and stationery lying on the secretary-general’s table. Soon marshals stepped in, forming a human chain around suspended members. Still, Kamal Akhtar managed to break a tumbler before being physically evicted with the others.

Unmoved, the marshalled members carried on their vociferous protests outside. Justifying their actions, Subhash Yadav said they had not attacked the chairman but the government. Ejaz Ali said their eviction was a danger bell for democracy. “This is complete dictatorship. Now the government can pass any Bill in both Houses by marshalling out dissenting members,” he said.Veerpal Singh Yadav alleged that the marshalling showed that the government had imposed “unannounced emergency” in the country.



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