On Monday, the Narendra Modi administration gave the impression that it was working toward an Opposition-must Parliament when it swiftly suspended 78 MPs because their “unruly” protests had compromised the August House’s decorum.
33 Lok Sabha members and 45 Rajya Sabha MPs are being targeted by the action, which was taken four days after 14 MPs, 13 of whom were from the Lower House, were suspended for the same offense of loudly calling for a statement from Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the security breach that occurred in Parliament on Wednesday.
An incensed opposition described the widespread suspension as a “bloodbath” and the “murder of democracy,” charging that the government was escalating the level of “tanasahi” (dictatorship) to stifle criticism.
Shah and Prime Minister Modi have continued to skip parliament since two young people on Wednesday stormed the Lok Sabha chamber brandishing smoke canisters. Nonetheless, they have addressed a portion of the media about the matter, charging that the Opposition is “politicizing the issue” and advising them to avoid demonstrations and calls for discussion.
Opposition members suspended in the current winter session have reached a record 92, divided equally between the two Houses (46–46). This feat, which a veteran described as unprecedented, occurred on a day when 78 MPs were suspended.
Additionally, the privileges committee of either House has been tasked with investigating the behavior of 11 of the 45 Rajya Sabha MPs and 3 of the 33 suspended Lok Sabha members. They are charged with serious offenses for which they will be suspended indefinitely if the committee finds them not guilty. For the current winter session, the remaining are suspended.
The mass suspension on Monday, according to former secretary-general of the Lok Sabha P.D.T. Achary, broke the record set by the 63 members who were removed from the assembly in 1989 for a single day of protesting the non-tableting of the Thakkar Commission report on Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
Parliament operates with the participation of both the government and the Opposition, much like a cart on two wheels. Parliament cannot function in the true sense if one wheel is missing, Achary told the press.
During the post-lunch session, the Lok Sabha 33 was the first target of the axe before the Upper House repeated the play with 45 more scalps.
The suspended members of the Lok Sabha comprise senior leaders of the Congress and DMK, Adhir Chowdhury and T.R. Baalu, and DMK members N.K. Premchandran (RSP), Sougata Roy (Trinamul), A. Raja, and Dayanidhi Maran.
Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Sudip Bandyopadhyay of the Congress, and the Trinamul Congress are some of the notable figures that the Opposition INDIA bloc has left in the Lower House.
Regarding the Rajya Sabha, practically every member of the Opposition leadership has been removed. Among the names are those of Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (Trinamul), Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Jairam Ramesh, K.C. Venugopal, Randeep Surjewala, Pramod Tiwari, and Shaktisinh Gohil (all Congress). Mallikarjun Kharge, the President of the Congress and Leader of the Opposition, has escaped unharmed.
Only 25–30 members of the INDIA bloc remain in the Upper House.
“The Prime Minister may speak with a newspaper, and the Home Minister may speak with television networks. But the Parliament, which speaks for the Indian people, has zero recourse against them! Kharge made a post on X.
“The Modi government can now crush dissent and bulldoze important pending legislation without any debate thanks to an Opposition-Less Parliament.”
“They want to run the House like their party office,” Adhir told reporters. Nothing would have come to pass if Amit Shah had spoken to the media rather than the House. We’ve been put on hold because we asked for his statement. Tanasahi is this person.
The chief of communications for the Congress, Ramesh, called the suspensions a “bloodbath” and created the acronym MODI, which stands for “murder of democracy in India.”
Ramesh wrote on X, “Not only in the Lok Sabha but today was a bloodbath in the Rajya Sabha with 45 INDIA party MPs getting suspended for demanding that the Leader of the Opposition be allowed to speak and for demanding a statement by the Home Minister on the December 13th security breach.”
In addition, for the first time in my 19-year parliamentary career, I am included in this Roll of Honour. This is the MODI (Murder of Democracy in India) in action!
Pralhad Joshi, the minister of Parliamentary affairs, defended the mass suspension, claiming that the Opposition had disregarded the Speaker’s repeated requests and had broken a unanimous decision to refrain from holding signs outside the newly constructed Parliament building.
“Mr. Speaker, you had asked the members not to carry signs inside the new Parliament building during the business advisory meeting. As opposition MPs demonstrated in the House Well during Question Hour early in the morning, Joshi stated, “Leaders of all the parties had supported it and given their consent that they will not bring placards.”
“This day hurts a lot. The House has devolved into a brigade of shouters. Dhankhar stated, “I have taken this (decision) with deep anguish,” before announcing the suspension of 45 lawmakers.
Piyush Goyal, the leader of the House, moved two motions: one to suspend 34 Members of Parliament and the other to suspend 11 more and refer their behavior to the privileges committee for review.
According to Congress Rajya Sabha member Kumar Ketkar, several of these 11 MPs were scheduled to retire in March. They may only get the traditional send-off if the privileges committee clear them by then.