(From left) BJP MP Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Trinamul MP Saugata Roy and NCP MP Supriya Sule outside Parliament on the first day of monsoon session on Monday. (PTI)
New Delhi, Aug. 5: The Lok Sabha couldn’t conduct any business at the monsoon session’s start today mainly because of statehood protests, but principal Opposition BJP sat quietly through the ruckus to avoid charges of being a House stopper.
The furore was centred on Andhra’s proposed bifurcation to create Telangana, demands for a Bodoland state and an outcry over a Supreme Court judgment to end reservations for faculty in premier medical institutions.
Anti-Telangana MPs from the Congress and the Telugu Desam trooped into the well of the House to demand “justice” for the people of Seemandhra — the non-Telangana areas made up of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.
Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary, the MP from Assam’s Kokrajhar, did the same, brandishing placards for Bodoland. The Lok Sabha was wound up after three adjournments, unable to transact any business. “If Telangana can be created, then why not Bodoland?” the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) screamed, a banner strung around his body that showed a map of a Bodoland state as he sought support from all parties.
He rushed to the well each time the House assembled after disruptions, except at 2pm when anti-Telangana MPs forced an adjournment.
Bwiswmuthiary was on his feet even before the session started. Accompanied by his Rajya Sabha BPF colleague Biswajit Daimary, Bwiswmuthiary protested in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue on the lawns of Parliament.
The BJP members did not join any issue, not even raising the suspension of Uttar Pradesh IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal despite batting for her outside Parliament and accusing the ruling Samajwadi Party of victimising her.
The BJP’s silence contrasted sharply with the budget session, much of which was washed out as the main Opposition party repeatedly stalled Parliament over corruption scandals buffeting the Congress-led UPA government.
“Why should we disturb the House when the government’s own MPs are stalling it? We have identified the issues we will raise and it will be done at the right time,” said a BJP leader when asked about today’s silence.
The party remained neutral even when Sharad Yadav of former ally Janata Dal (United) raised the issue of a recent Supreme Court judgment to end reservations in the appointment for faculty in premier medical institutions.
Sharad found support on the issue from Samajwadi chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and Congress MP P.L. Punia.
Sharad, speaking during zero hour, demanded the government bring amendments in Parliament to nullify the Supreme Court’s judgment. Mulayam joined Sharad and threatened an agitation if the government failed to act.
Congress MP Punia was, however, more strident. He criticised the Supreme Court for passing the judgment and asked whether the judiciary, or Parliament, should be running the country.
“Whether five judges will decide how the country will be ruled or the elected representatives of the people sitting in Parliament,” Punia questioned, supporting Sharad’s demand for countering the order with amendments.
A five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court headed by former Chief Justice Altmas Kabir had passed the verdict.
The BJP’s silence was seen as an attempt to avoid the perception that it is mainly responsible for stalling Parliament.
The Congress and the UPA government have often blamed the party of disrupting the House and blocking crucial legislations.