Samajwadi Party boss Akhilesh Yadav took a swipe at the ruling BJP Tuesday evening, hours after Lok Sabha suspended 95 MPs – over 140, including those ejected yesterday and last week – in an unprecedented move to close out the final full sitting of Parliament ahead of next year’s election.
Mr Yadav, who saw two of his party colleagues suspended today – Dimple Yadav and ST Hasan, suggested the government need not have spent as much as it did (by some estimates over Rs 1,000 crore) on a larger Parliament building if it intended to suspend nearly two-third of the opposition.
“People want to know… when MPs were to be suspended, why was there a need for a new Parliament building? It would have been better if the BJP had built a new room, for two-three people, in the old Parliament itself…” the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister posted on X.
READ | 141 Opposition MPs Suspended In Record-Breaking Parliament Standoff
The new Parliament, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September amid much fanfare can seat over 1,200 MPs across the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, has larger and revamped offices for all the lawmakers and their staff, and an array of technical features and gadgets.
जनता पूछ रही है जब सांसदों को निलंबित ही करना था तो फिर अधिक क्षमता वाली ‘बड़ी संसद’ के नाम पर नई संसद बनवाई ही क्यों? इससे अच्छा तो भाजपा सरकार पुरानी संसद में ही दो-तीन लोगों के लिए एक नया कमरा बनवा लेती क्योंकि इस सरकार में न तो किसी को प्रश्न पूछने दिया जाता है न कोई चर्चा… pic.twitter.com/fbQznkTCtA
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) December 19, 2023
While opening the building – which has 888 seats in the Lok Sabha and 384 in the Rajya Sabha – the Prime Minister hailed its “inclusive atmosphere” and the “power of the democracy of India”.
After the row over the suspension, Mr Yadav hit out, declaring, “… in this government neither is anyone allowed to ask questions nor is any discussion allowed… decisions are taken by a few people only”.
This morning Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who doggedly refused opposition MPs’ demands to discuss last week’s major security breach, or allow the PM or Home Minister Amit Shah to make a statement on the incident, suspended 49 lawmakers, including 86-year-old Farooq Abdullah, for “unruly conduct”.
NDTV Explains | Nearly 2/3rd Of Opposition Suspended, No Challenge For BJP In Parliament
The government cited unspecified national security concerns to say it could not make a statement.
However, the PM and Mr Shah discussed the scare with the media. They acknowledged the “very serious” incident and said an inquiry, by a “high-powered committee” had been ordered.
READ | “Very Serious, We Need To Know Who’s Behind This”: PM On Parliament Breach
Hours after almost all the opposition was suspended Amit Shah appeared in the Lok Sabha to table for consideration and passage three contentious bills that will replace existing criminal laws.
READ | 2/3rd Opposition Missing, Lok Sabha Takes Up New Criminal Laws For Passage
In the past week a ferocious opposition has demanded accountability from the government over the security breach, which saw two men pop yellow smoke canisters inside the Lok Sabha, and a man and a woman burst red and yellow smoke canisters outside the Parliament complex.
READ | “Black Day”, “Nothing But Anarchy”: What Opposition MPs Said On Suspension
The scare took place on the 22nd anniversary of the terror attack on the old Parliament, and prompted searching questions on lapses in security protocol; the intruders smuggled gas canisters in cavities in custom-made shoes, after realising footwear was not subject to security checks.
READ | Police Explain How Sagar Sharma Smuggled Smoke Cans Into Parliament
The four who opened the smoke cans and two others, including the alleged mastermind, have been arrested and are being interrogated by Delhi Police’s Special Cell, which is leading this investigation.
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