Indian Opposition Parties Boycott Parliament Session, Join Protest Staged by Suspended Lawmakers

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupA statue of Mahatma Gandhi overlooks the Indian parliament building (File)
A statue of Mahatma Gandhi overlooks the Indian parliament building (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.12.2021
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Twelve opposition parliamentarians were suspended on 29 November, the first day of the Winter Session of India's parliament. The Opposition condemned the decision of the lawmakers as "undemocratic", and all the expelled MPs have been protesting against it on the premises of the parliament building.
Ramping up their protest against the suspension of 12 Upper House parliamentarians, Opposition lawmakers decided to boycott the ongoing parliamentary session on Wednesday and join their protesting colleagues on the Indian Parliament's premises near the Mahatma Gandhi statue.
Senior Congress parliamentarian and former federal minister P. Chidamabaram joined the suspended lawmakers and expressed solidarity with them.
Abhishek Banerjee, an MP from West Bengal's ruling party Trinamool Congress (TMC), also participated in the protest.
TMC parliamentarian Sushmita Dev said in a tweet that the suspension should be “revoked in the interest of democracy”.
Around 120 lawmakers from all the Opposition parties will join the protest on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi addressed a Congress parliamentary party meeting in the Central Hall of the Parliament, describing the suspension of 12 lawmakers as "unprecedented and unacceptable".
"We stand in solidarity with the suspended MPs," she added.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Congress Parliamentarian and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that the protest will continue until the suspension is revoked.
“We wanted to raise several issues, like inflation and the Nagaland killings. But 12 of our colleagues remain suspended and are not able to participate in the debate,” he said.
On 29 November, the 12 opposition lawmakers were suspended for "obstructing" Parliament's proceedings with "unprecedented acts" staged on the last day of the previous parliamentary session, which ended on 13 August.
Several lawmakers purportedly climbed onto tables, waved black cloths, and threw files when the House started debating the ongoing farmers' protest against three contentious farm laws.
Despite the demand of the opposition parties, Rajya Sabha Chairperson M. Venkaiah Naidu on 30 November said that the suspension will stand.
Later, opposition parties in both Houses of Parliament, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, staged a walkout against the suspension.
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