The government has continued to “blame” the 12 suspended Rajya Sabha Members of Parliament (MPs) for their suspension, asking them to “realise their mistake and talk to the Chair.” Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Piyush Goyal said the Opposition leaders did not come for the meeting called by the Government today. He insisted that the suspended MPs should come and “apologise to maintain the dignity of the chair and Parliament”.
Goyal cited the Parliamentary events from the past and recalled how when in Opposition, “an apology” was offered by the late Arun Jaitly. Goyal accused the Opposition saying they “do not want Parliament to run. Causing disturbance and disruption is their mantra.”
The government had called the meeting in the face of the “deadlock in the Parliament”, however a united Opposition refused to attend. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with his senior ministers, to discuss issues about the ongoing Winter Session. According to news reports, the meeting was attended by Union Ministers including Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal, Narendra Singh Tomar, Kiren Rijiju among others.
The Opposition parties have decided not to attend meetings called by the government till their demands are met. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut told the media that the demands include “the resignation of MoS Home Ajay Kumar Misra and revocation of suspension of 12 Opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha.” He insisted, “We will not let both Houses of Parliament function.”
On November 29, the 12 Rajya Sabha Members were suspended “on the grounds of indiscipline”. The MPs – CPM’s Elamaram Kareem, Congress’ Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, Ripun Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain, Akhilesh Prasad Singh, CPI’s Binoy Viswam, TMC’s Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri, Shiv Sena’s Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai were suspended reportedly for “the ruckus” created in the Monsoon Session. The Opposition however, issued a joint statement calling the move “unwarranted” and “undemocratic”. All 12 MPs have been sitting on a daily protest in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament since then. The Winter Session of Parliament is scheduled to culminate on 23 December.
“You may write (us) down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod (us) in the very dirt
But still, like dust, we’ll rise.”
United we stand as Opposition against the authoritarian government. pic.twitter.com/afT9BSUmZv
— Priyanka Chaturvedi?? (@priyankac19) December 20, 2021
On Sunday, MPs Binoy Viswam, Leader of CPI Parliamentary Group had written to Pralhad Joshi, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, reminding him that “the entire opposition has demanded that the issue be resolved at the earliest in order for the Rajya Sabha to function smoothly and discuss issues affecting the common person.” Viswam accused the Government of “now attempting to divide the Opposition by only calling leaders of some parties for this meeting.” A similar letter was written by CPI’s E Kareem, as well as Leader of the Opposition in RS, Mallikarjun Kharge.
According to news reports the call for the meeting was termed half-hearted, by RJD MP Manoj Jha, who said, “This is not any step by govt. The Government doesn’t want to run the session, that is why they have called only 5 parties. This step by the Centre is showing they have no interest.” Rajya Sabha Leader of the Opposition (LOP), Mallikarjun Kharge said the government has been asked to “call an all-party meeting.”