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AAP MP Raghav Chadha suspended from Rajya Sabha; Opposition decries move

NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Raghav Chadha was on Friday suspended from Rajya Sabha for ”gross violation of rules, misconduct, defiant attitude and contemptuous conduct”, pending a report by the privileges committee.

His suspension followed a motion moved by Leader of the House Piyush Goyal who sought action against the AAP leader for including names of some members of the Upper House without their consent in a proposed select committee for the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

The motion was passed by a voice vote in the Upper House.

The House also approved the continuation of suspension of senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh from the House, pending the privileges committee report. Singh was suspended on July 24, four days after the Monsoon session of Parliament began.

Earlier this week, a Rajya Sabha bulletin said Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar received complaints from MPs Sasmit Patra, S Phangnon Konyak, M Thambidurai and Narhari Amin alleging breach of privilege by Chadha ”for inter-alia including their names without their consent, in violation of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, in a motion on August 7”.

Chadha had proposed the constitution of a select committee to consider the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2023 and had included the names of the four MPs.

Goyal said it is with a deep sense of anguish that he has to raise a very pertinent issue related to member Raghav Chadha who has repeatedly indulged himself in ”gross impropriety and misconduct” that is unexpected and unbecoming of a Member of Parliament.

”His conduct is far distant from the ethical standards expected of a member of this august house,” he said.

He said on August 7, he moved an amendment under relevant rules for the referring the Government of National Capital Territory Amendment Bill 2023 to a select committee consisting of 19 members, including honourable members Narhari Amin, S Phangnon Konyak, Sasmit Patra, M Thambidurai and Sudhanshu Trivedi.

It also included S Niranjan Reddy, who did not realise his name has been included and therefore at that point of time did not raise an objection, but subsequently confirmed that he has also not given his consent.

When the motion came for consideration before the Council on August 7, some members whose names figured in the list took severe exception for being included for the proposed select committee moved by Chadha, Goyal said.

He said Chadha’s action has severe consequences and ”it could go as far as losing the membership of the House”. ”Unfortunately, rather than remorsefully accepting regret for his unethical conduct, he, in an interaction with the press outside the House, ridiculed the objections raised by his fellow colleagues for including their names in the proposed select committee without their consent,” Goyal also said.

He said earlier too Chadha made misleading statements before the press by stating that his fellow colleague Sanjay Singh was suspended from the Council for raising questions.

”By his conduct, he has brought the institution of Parliament in severe disrepute. His latest misconduct is also to be viewed in the context of two breach of privileges that are pending before the committee of privileges.

”To overlook such repeated acts of misdemeanour, specially viewed in the context of the prestige of Parliament of the largest democracy and the status of members of such an august Parliament could certainly be very inappropriate,” Goyal said.

In a statement issued Friday night, Chadha said, ”My suspension serves as a stark message from the BJP to today’s youth: If you dare to ask questions, we will crush your voice. I was suspended for asking tough questions that left the BJP, the world’s largest party, without answers through my speech in Parliament on Delhi Service Bill. ”My crime was exposing BJP’s double standards on Delhi’s statehood and asking them to follow ‘Advani-vaad’ and ‘Vajpayee-vad’. The fact that a 34-year-old MP showed them a mirror and held them accountable, left them scarred.

”The way in which the BJP orchestrated the suspension of Rahul Gandhi from Parliament indicates their willingness to employ similar tactics to suspend and subsequently expel any AAP MP without hesitation,” he said. Opposition members opposed the suspension of the AAP MPs Chadha and Singh. After the House was adjourned, Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Pramod Tiwari said it is wrong to suspend members like this.

”Why has Raghav Chadha been suspended? Those members who had objections to their names (being included in the proposed select committee) could have gone to the chairman to say that they do not want to be part of the parliamentary panel.

”It is wrong to suspend Chadha in this manner. He will not enjoy several privileges available to an MP and neither will he be able to attend meetings of parliamentary committees,” he said.

Tiwari said the entire opposition will raise the issue and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge will write to the Chairman against Chadha’s suspension.

On Singh’s suspension, Tiwari said one session has gone and the AAP MP continues to be suspended.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said it is absolutely unfortunate the way the BJP-led government continues to suspend opposition members for asking questions.

”It is for the first time in the history of parliamentary democracy that a leader of opposition in Lok Sabha has been suspended. It is unfortunate and uncalled for,” she said.

JMM MP Mahua Maji also decried Chadha’s suspension, saying it is unfortunate as he is a very active MP of the opposition.

Congress MP Rajeev Shukla said the manner in which opposition leaders are being suspended one after the other is not proper. The entire opposition is against the way opposition MPs are being suspended like this over small issues, he said.

”The entire opposition is united against it and will continue to oppose it,” he said.

Shukla said the extension of Singh’s suspension is also not proper.

AAP MP Sushil Kumar Rinku was also suspended from Lok Sabha for unruly behaviour on August 3.

Source: Press Trust of India

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