Monsoon Session Day 12: 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
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 for five days, the Congress Party boycotted the Lok Sabha for a second day, and disrupted proceedings in the Rajya Sabha.

Led by Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi, senior leaders raised slogans near the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the parliament premises on Wednesday, while party workers staged aggressive demonstrations outside the residence of Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

"We have decided to stay outside and protest," said Rahul Gandhi, Congress Party vice president.

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READ: Monsoon Session Day 11 - Opposition Parties Boycott Lok Sabha After 25 Congress Party Lawmakers Are Suspended

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, and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan - 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 Bharatiya Janata Party has ruled out resignations of its leaders, but offered to debate the Lalit Modi scandal and the Vyapam Scam in parliament.

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

The GST bill has been 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 main political rival within the Opposition.

"The decision of Congress MPs suspension should be reconsidered and withdrawn," said Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati.

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