New Delhi: Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who created a flutter today by banging a placard on the Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's table, was suspended by her for the rest of the day amid continued protest in the Lok Sabha over the Lalit Modi controversy and Vyapam scam.
Chowdhury was proceeded against despite his 'unqualified' apology and pleas by Congress and other Opposition parties not to single out one member for the problem which their members said was political and needed a political solution.
TV grabs of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Pic/PTI
Observing that the apology tendered by Chowdhury for his regrettable action was not from his heart, Mahajan asked him to withdraw from the House for the day's session.
On her request, BJP member Arjun Ram Meghwal, who had moved a motion for Chowdhury's suspension for the rest of the session, withdrew his motion.
Amidst the din, when Mahajan said even the Congress leaders had not objected to Chowdhury's action, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who was sitting in the front row, was heard saying "why should I?"
Soon after Chowdhury moved out of the House, several members from Congress and other parties entered the Well demanding, among other things, the resignation of Union Minister Sushma Swaraj and Chief Ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, leading to its adjournment for the day.
The problem in the Lok Sabha, which was witnessing unruly scenes, aggravated with an agitated Chowdhury banging his placard on the table of the Speaker, prompting her to abruptly adjourn the House for an hour at 3 p.m. He banged his placard when AIADMK's J T Natterjee was participating in a discussion on the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2015, amid continued slogan-shouting by Congress members.
Soon after the House reassembled, Mahajan lamented the 'improper' behaviour of Chowdhury saying it amounted to insulting the Chair. She also 'named' Chowdhury.
In the melee, Meghwal moved the motion seeking suspension of the Chowdhury for the rest of the session for showing disrespect to the Chair.
Coming to Chowdhury's defence, Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy said it was wrong to single out Chowdhury for punishment and requested her not to pursue with the motion to suspend him.
Mahajan responded by saying that members were continuing to show placards despite her repeated requests and warnings to bring order in the House for the past two days.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said "no body can disrespect the chair" and recalled how several members were suspended in the earlier Lok Sabha for not allowing the House to function. He further said the government, which has got a massive mandate from the people, was not being allowed to function by the Opposition parties. "We are ready for discussion, but they are only disrupting the House," he added.
Mahajan on her part said, "I am naming Chowdhury for his action," adding that it was not a question of individual but that of the Chair.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said there was no intention to insult the Speaker but added that there were issues over which the members were agitated and the government needed to address them. He further said that Chowdhury should be given an opportunity to apologise.
Expressing "unqualified" apology for his action, Chowdhury said he had been member in several terms and had never shown any disrespect to the chair. "I don't have the audacity to disrespect you. You are the todian of the House and all of us...I regret and I tender unqualified apology to you," he said.
Mahajan, however, was not impressed and said "you don't tender an apology with a sword in your hand."
Chowdhury said, "I have begged unqualified. What else do you want?"
"I don't want anything else," she said and asked him to leave the House for the day. Chowdhury moved out of the House, but not before thanking Roy and other members for their support.