In the latest development in the chaotic Monsoon Session of Parliament, the Centre on Thursday said the Opposition must apologise for its “disruptive” and “threatening behaviour”. Such behaviour, it said, forced Parliament to close two days ahead of schedule.
The Centre’s demand came even as 12 Opposition parties alleged that “outsiders who were not part of Parliament security were brought in to manhandle Opposition leaders and members, including women MPs”, said an NDTV report.
Meanwhile, a CCTV footage released on Thursday evening showed Opposition MPs jostling with security personnel in the Rajya Sabha. The 2.5-minute video clip showed protesting Opposition MPs at the centre of the house and uniformed marshals, who handle security in Parliament, apparently trying to restrain them. Further, Opposition members are seen tearing papers into bits while an MP is seen climbing a table.
— NDTV (@ndtv) August 12, 2021
The video emerged as the Opposition protested against the early end to the session and alleged manhandling of MPs, particularly women, said an NDTV report.
“The people of this nation gave the government a duty — to find solutions for their concerns. But we all have seen how the Opposition has been totally disruptive in not letting Parliament function. Instead of shedding crocodile tears, the Opposition should feel shame and come out to apologise to the people of this nation,” said Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur.
“The Secretary General’s table in Rajya Sabha is not meant for dancing and protesting,” he told reporters at a press meet. Seven other Union Ministers also joined the media conference, slamming the Opposition for suggesting that the government ‘deliberately derailed’ the Monsoon session.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said: “The day before yesterday, some MPs climbed on top of the tables…feeling proud of themselves. They thought they’ve done something great. They tweeted after shooting its video.”
Opposition in Rajya Sabha today stooped to a new low. Manhandling the Marshalls has never happened in the Parliament before. Such shameful conduct is an insult to the Temple of Democracy. It is highly condemnable and demands strictest of actions. pic.twitter.com/SxzULNCLTY
— Pralhad Joshi (@JoshiPralhad) August 11, 2021
Joining the chorus, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said: “The behaviour of the Opposition is very unbecoming of Parliamentarians…They broke furniture, broke doors, snatched papers from ministers’ hands while they were giving statements, manhandled the marshals, injured a woman marshal, climbed on furniture, kicked desks and chairs…this is unacceptable behaviour. They have brought shame on the entire nation.”
The Lok Sabha functioned for just 21 hours during the entire Monsoon Session, and its productivity was just 22%, rued House Speaker Om Birla. MPs protesting with placards and slogans in the Well of Lok Sabha was not in accordance with its traditions, he added.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, who is also Rajya Sabha Chairman, broke down as he spoke about the ruckus created by Opposition MPs. The ‘sacredness’ of the House was destroyed, he said, adding he could not sleep last night.
‘Assault’ on Opposition MPs
Earlier in the day, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders protested the abrupt end to the Monsoon Session and the alleged assault on MPs, said the NDTV report.
“Without any provocation… outsiders, who were not part of Parliament security, were brought in to manhandle Opposition leaders and members, including women MPs who were only protesting the government’s conduct, highhandedness and muzzling of their voice,” said their joint statement.
The statement strongly criticised the government for its “authoritarian attitude and undemocratic actions”. It accused the ruling party of “deliberately derailing” the Parliament session, avoiding debates on issues such as the Pegasus scandal, which are of “national importance”.
Session over- government off the hook. Bullied oppn into passing bills without discussion, refused to discuss Pegasus, farm laws.
Parliament needs to sit for at least 130-140 days a year to make govt accountable & address current issues.
— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) August 12, 2021
As the government passed an amendment to an insurance Bill on Wednesday, there was utter chaos in the Rajya Sabha. Women MPs alleged that they were physically bullied by male marshals as they were protesting in the Well of the House. NCP leader Sharad Pawar remarked later that in his parliamentary career spanning 55 years, he had never seen his women colleagues being attacked. “It is painful. It is an attack on democracy,” he said, as quoted by media reports.