Congress leader raises MPs’ suspension, but pick-pocket analogy leaves many squirming

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 06, 2020

The Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, on Friday said the suspension of seven party MPs from the House for disrupting proceedings was like sending a pickpocket to the gallows, only to be panned by Union minister Pralhad Joshi who termed the analogy strange and unfortunate.

Chowdhury’s pickpocket remark, meant to criticise the government’s move to suspend the Congress members, left many party MPs visibly embarrassed and others in splits.

Arguing against the suspension of the seven Congress members for the remainder of the Budget Session, Chowdhury said: “Jeb-katua ko phansi ke takhte pe nahi chadaya ja sakta hai (a pickpocket cannot be sent to the gallows),” and demanded that the suspension be revoked. He said the punishment was “disproportionate” and should be reversed.

He said the party members regard the Chair as “the Pope of the Vatican” and had never dishonoured it.

Latching on to Chowdhury’s remarks, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Joshi said, “It is strange to compare the suspended MPs with pickpockets. It is most unfortunate...”

‘Ruckus unprecedented’

Justifying the action against Congress MPs, Joshi said snatching papers from the Speaker’s table had never happened in the House in its history of more than 70 years.

Referring to incidents when the BJP was in the Opposition, Joshi said former Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha LK Advani would stop MPs from doing anything that did not suit the dignity of the House.

The House has witnessed uproarious scenes since the Budget Session reconvened on March 2 with the Opposition demanding a discussion on the Delhi violence that claimed at least 53 lives.

During a discussion on the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, an RLP member made some controversial remarks against Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her family members, triggering a strong reaction from Congress members.

While protesting the remarks, Congress member Gaurav Gogoi pulled papers from the Speaker’s table and flung them in the air. Gogoi and six other MPs were suspended from the House for the remainder of the Session.

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Published on March 06, 2020
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