New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday suspended eight Congress MPs for disrupting the House over the Telangana statehood issue. All the eight MPs belonged to the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The decision to suspend the MPs was taken at a Congress core group meeting chaired by party President Sonia Gandhi after the Lok Sabha was adjourned as the MPs raised slogans and waved placards in the House, demanding the creation of Telangana state by dividing Andhra Pradesh.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced in the Lok Sabha that the MPs had been suspended for four days. But the suspended MPs have refused to leave the Lok Sabha and are sitting in the well of the House. Those suspended are Ponnam Prabhakar, Madhu Yaskhi Goud, M Jagannath, KRG Reddy, G Viveknanda, Balram Naik, Sukender Reddy Gutha and S Rajaiah.
Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister P Chidambaram and other senior leaders had asked the MPs not to raise the statehood issue in Parliament and let the House function. Some Congress core group members insisted that the MPs should be allowed to defend themselves and the decision should be deferred till Wednesday, but the MPs told Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee that they would continue with their protests.
Mukherjee then informed Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following which a resolution was moved in the Lok Sabha to suspend the MPs for four days.
After the MPs refused, Mukherjee consulted Leader of Opposition and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sushma Swarakj and other Opposition leaders on how to deal with MPs indulging in slogan shouting and disrupting Parliament.
Samajwadi Party's Mulayam Singh Yadav, Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav and Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) were also present during the meeting. Mukherjee also discussed the conduct of the MPs with Sonia.
Some senior Congress leaders wanted that the erring MPs should be suspended for the remaining part of the Budget session, but the CPI opposed such a harsh action and said that the MPs should be suspended for only four days. The proposal was supported by Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav, AIADMK leaders and even the BJP.
Dasgupta blamed the Congress for failing to rein in its MPs. "This government has failed. It is a failure of the economic policies; it is a failure of liberalisation. They cannot even control their own party MPs," said Dasgupta.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar was forced to adjourn the House till 12 noon after the MPs continued raising slogans and waved placards. However, uproar in the Lok Sabha continued as several MPs raised slogans demanding Telangana state even after the resumption.