New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday led a protest in Parliament premises against the BJP’s move to form a government in Maharashtra along with the NCP.
The party MPs in Lok Sabha also stormed the well carrying placards to protest the swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis-led government in the western state, leading to adjournment of House proceedings till noon.
Calling the midnight coup in which the BJP sought to form a government with Ajit Pawar a “murder of democracy”, Congress leaders like Anand Sharma and Adheer Choudhury raised slogans and held placards criticising the BJP.
The protest was held in Parliament premises.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tto said in Lok Sabha on Monday that democracy has been murdered in Maharashtra.
He made these remarks during Question Hour when Speaker Om Birla told him to ask a supplementary.
“There is no question of asking question (in Question Hour) today. Democracy has been murdered in Maharashtra,” he said.
As members of the Congress raised slogans and carried placards, what invited Speaker Om Birla’s ire was a big banner that two MPs held across the Well.
The black banner sported the slogan “stop murder of democracy” while placards had messages like “save Constitution” and “save democracy”.
Speaker Om Birla then ordered the removal of two Congress members Hibi Eden and T N Prathapan- who were holding a big banner with ‘stop murder of democracy slogan – by marshals.
However, the two MPS were joined by other Congress members in resisting their eviction from the House and were seen jostling with marshals, prompting the Speaker to adjourn the House till noon.
When the House met at 12 pm, the chair again adjourned it to 2 pm.
In Rajya Sabha too, proceedings were on Monday adjourned till 2 pm after the Congress and other opposition parties stalled functioning of the House over the same issue.
Congress, Left, DMK and other opposition members were up on their feet shouting anti-BJP slogans after Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu rejected notices by opposition members under Rule 267 seeking setting aside of the business to take up the issue.
Naidu barred any comments made by opposition members to go on record but allowed Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi who made a statement instead of raising a point of order.
But an unrelenting opposition continued shouting slogans, leading to Naidu adjourning proceedings till 2 pm.
After listed papers were laid on the table of the House, opposition MPs were up on their feet raising slogans like “murder of democracy” in Maharashtra where the governor on Saturday administered oath to Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister with Ajit Pawar as his deputy.
Naidu said he did not accept notices given by the Congress, DMK and Left members under Rule 267 as the matter was sub judice and conduct of a person in high office cannot be discussed without a substantive motion.
He said the House can discuss President’s rule being imposed or revoked in a state only when a motion to that effect is brought before it.
No such move is under consideration of the House, he said.
Naqvi said the Governor’s decision can be discussed only through a substantive motion and no such motion has been brought by the opposition.
He alleged that the Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP were trying to “hijack” democracy in Maharashtra through “jugad”.
He said NCP strongman Sharad Pawar risks getting run out on a slippery pitch.
As the Opposition continued protests, Naidu adjourned proceedings till 2 pm.
Government formation in Maharashtra has come under the Supreme Court’s scrutiny with the Centre being asked to produce before the court letters of the Governor inviting Fadnavis as well as the communication of the BJP leader staking his claim.
After Fadnavis returned as the chief minister on Saturday, the Shiv Sena claimed that the Sena-NCP-Congress combine has a support of 165 MLAs and can comfortably prove its majority in the Assembly.
The BJP has claimed that Fadnavis had the support of 170 MLAs.
The majority mark in a House of 288 is 145.