Congress Party Persists With Boycott Of Lok Sabha, Escalates Protests

05/08/2015 1:52 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images
Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi (L) talks with the party vice president and son Rahul Gandhi (R) as they join other Congress Party members of parliament to shout slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA government at Parliament House in New Delhi on August 5, 2015. Members of the Congress Party, supported by other parties, protested against the suspension of 25 Congress MPs for ''willfully'' disrupting proceedings in the Indian parliament. AFP PHOTO/PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI --Escalating protests over the suspension of over half of its lawmakers, the Congress Party boycotted the Lok Sabha for a second day, and disrupted proceedings in the Rajya Sabha.

Senior party leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Manmohan Singh raised slogans near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the parliament premises on Wednesday, while party workers staged demonstrations outside the house of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

On Monday, Mahajan suspended 25 Congress Party lawmakers for persistently defying her instructions not to hold placards, and obstruct proceedings in the Lok Sabha. But several opposition parties have said that they will only allow parliamentary proceedings after three senior BJP leaders - External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje for the Lalit Modi scandal, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh - resign.

With only a week left for this Monsoon Session to conclude, there has been speculation about Mahajan retracting the suspensions to avoid wasting another three days. So far, no work has been done in parliament which convened on July 21.

The deadlock has incapacitated the Modi government from pushing through critical bills especially Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2014, which brings the biggest indirect tax reforms since 1947.

The GST bill passed in the Lok Sabha, where the BJP has the majority, but it still needs a two-third vote in the Rajya Sabha.

Following the suspension, several other opposition parties including the All India Trinamool Congress, the Left parties, the Aam Aadmi Party and the Samajwadi Party, have expressed their solidarity with the Congress Party, hurting the BJP's strategy to isolate its political rival within the Opposition.

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