The Rajya Sabha impasse over suspension of 12 Opposition members for the entire Winter Session today appeared near solution as the Government offered to “reconsider” the issue, if the suspended members apologized for their actions.
Leader of the House Piyush Goyal told the House that the members’ conduct had lowered the dignity of the House and shown disrespect towards its Chairman. The Government would reconsider the suspensions if the members expressed regrets over their actions.
As the near-half empty House was about to take up the Dam Safety Bill in the afternoon, Goyal said the members were given ample opportunity to explain their conduct towards the end of the last Session, but their parties declined to join an inquiry.
As the last session had ended, the disciplinary action could be taken at the earliest in the current session only, and it was announced on its first day yesterday, he said.
Deputy Chairman Harivansh said, as suggested by Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, the Leader of the House and Leader of the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge could sit together and sort out the issue.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi agreed with the suggestions and said the Government wanted participation of the entire House in the passage of Bills, and therefore the Dam Safety Bill could be taken up tomorrow. His understanding was the Opposition had boycotted the House just for a day, today. The House was then adjourned till tomorrow.
Earlier, the Chairman rejected Kharge’s contentions and appeal for revocation of the suspensions. The Congress thereafter staged a walk-out. Derek O’Brien of the Trinamul Congress too protested against the Government stand and led his party’s walk-out.
Kharge argued that before a motion is moved for the suspension of a member, the Chairman has to name the member. Bringing a motion, months after the disorderly behaviour was not fair, he said.
Naidu said the Rajya Sabha is a continuing institution. The Chairman is empowered under Rules and residual powers and the House can take action. Yesterday the action was taken by the entire House. Anybody could go through the 10th August last records.
On 10th August itself, the members were named and told to resume their seats. The official Bulletin had carried their names, he said.
The Chairman said the members indulged in unruly conduct. The Government had moved the motion and it was approved and the action taken is final, he said.
The members had not expressed any remorse over the actions. On the other hand, they were justifying their actions. The appeal of the Leader of the Opposition was not worth considering, he said.
Naidu later said the suspended members had committed sacrilege of the House which is the Temple of Democracy. “I have a sacred duty. People will question. I am answerable,” he said. Ninety three per cent of the members wanted the House to run. The majority was silent and a handful of people were violent, he said.
Recalling the Opposition’s attitude in the last session, Goyal said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not allowed to introduce new Ministers and was forced to table their introductions to enable them to work in the House as Ministers.
The Government was ready to prove its majority in the Upper House any day, and there could be division of votes on any Bill, he said.