The Parliament was rocked by Telangana issue again on Monday, prompting Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar to take the unprecedented step of suspending nine members from Andhra Pradesh for five days, the second time in the same session.
Lok Sabha could not transact any business because of the uproar. It also witnessed an ugly spat between the Congress and suspended Telugu Desam Party members after an adjournment and resulted in a complaint being made to the Speaker.
In Rajya Sabha too, two TDP members from the state were suspended for the day for disrupting the House on the issue. Following this, the House functioned normally.
When the Lok Sabha assembled for the day, the Speaker suspended TDP members Kristappa, Venugopal Reddy, K N Rao and Sivaprasad and five Congress MPs A Sai Pratap, Anantha Venkatrami Reddy, N Rajagopal, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy and K Bapi Raju for five days for continuously disrupting the House. The action was taken under Rule 374(A) of Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha. As per the Rule, a member after being named by the Speaker stands "automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less".
The rule regarding automatic suspension is applied in the event of "grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the Well of the House or abusing the rules of the House persistently and willfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans". This is the first instance when the same members were suspended twice in the same session under the rule, which came into being over a decade back. The previous action was on August 23 for paralysing the House since the current session began on August 5.
Immediately after the action around 11.15 am, the Speaker adjourned the House till 2 pm. As soon as the House was adjourned, members of the Congress and Telugu Desam Party clashed, with allegations that abusive and unparliamentary language was used. Sandeep Dikshit, Congress chief whip, and Madhu Yakshi Goud, whip, and TDP members N Kristappa, M Venugopal Reddy, K N Rao and N Sivaprasad entered into a verbal duel.
While TDP members were unavailable for comment, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman Syed Shahnawaz Hussain articulated their version. He conveyed the matter to Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj who lodged a complaint with the Speaker against Dikshit and Goud. "We strongly condemn this behaviour of Congress MPs. This is unfortunate. Their act was shameful. Congress chief whip Dikshit and Madhu Yakshi Goud abused these MPs who were named by the chair. They were threatened by these two MPs," Hussain later told reporters.
Dikshit, on his part, said the Congress members were abused after they told TDP members to come out of the House and talk, instead of causing disruptions. "But they were using abusive language in Telugu language," he said.
When the House re-assembled at 2 pm, agitating TDP members remained inside. As they refused to leave despite repeated pleas by Deputy Speaker Karia Munda, it was adjourned for the day. Three of the four TDP members N Kristappa, M Venugopal Reddy and N Sivaprasad were still in the Well despite it being adjourned for the day. Leader of TDP in Lok Sabha Nama Nageshwar Rao was seen consulting opposition leaders including Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj.
This is the third instance of suspension of members in the present Lok Sabha. More than a year back, eight pro-Telangana Congress members had been suspended from the House for similar reasons.
The clash between Congress and TDP is unlikely to subside with one of the suspended TDP members writing to Speaker Meira Kumar against four Congress members, including Sandip Dikshit, accusing them of threatening them.
N Siva Prasad has in a letter to the Speaker named S Rajaiah, Ponnam Prabhakar and Madhu Yakshi Goud, all three Congress members from Telangana and Dikshit, accusing them of using unparliamentary language against the agitating TDP MPs and threatening them. Party parliamentary party leader Nama Nageshwar Rao has also written to the Speaker seeking "severe action" against the Congress members "to avoid repetition of similar behaviour" by any member.