Parliament: Opposition observes 'non-stop 50-hour' dharna as standoff with govt intensifies, Naidu tries to broker peace

Parliament: Opposition observes 'non-stop 50-hour' dharna as standoff with govt intensifies, Naidu tries to broker peace

The 20 suspended Rajya Sabha MPs on Wednesday started a 50-hour relay protest inside the Parliament complex

The standoff between the Centre and Opposition in the Parliament doesn’t seem to get over anytime soon, prompting fears of washout of more days of the ongoing Monsoon Session.

Parliament: Opposition observes 'non-stop 50-hour' dharna as standoff with govt intensifies, Naidu tries to broker peace
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In the eight business days, the Lok Sabha has seen nominal business hours while the Rajya Sabha has suffered virtual washouts amid continued disruptions by the opposition which has been demanding immediate discussion on the issue of price rise.

On Wednesday, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh added to the list of suspended Parliamentarians taking the tally to 24, including four Lok Sabha and 20 Rajya Sabha members.

The 20 suspended Rajya Sabha MPs on Wednesday started a 50-hour relay protest inside the Parliament complex, with sources saying the Opposition declined the Chairman's offer that they express regret over their members' behaviour in the House to get the suspension revoked. They were later joined by four Congress MPs who have also been suspended from Lok Sabha for remainder of the Monsoon session.

The Rajya Sabha MPs are holding the protest near the Gandhi statue and will stay at the site through night, Trinamool Congress' Dola Sen, who is one of the suspended members, said earlier on Wednesday.

The opposition parties -- those members who have been suspended and others who have extended their support to them -- will take turns in a relay system at the protest site to keep it a non-stop 50-hour, day-and-night protest that is scheduled to end on Friday noon.

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Opposition sources also said feelers from the "other side" has indicated that there is a view within the government that suspending 19 opposition MPs at one go in Rajya Sabha was a wrong strategic move and should have been avoided.

In fact, in the morning, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu met leaders of the Opposition parties in RS and an offer was made to them that if they express regret over their behaviour in the House, another resolution will be brought to revoke the suspensions, the sources said.

However, none of the leaders acquiesced, saying instead that the government should express regret over the decision of not discussing price rise.

With the suspension of the MPs in RS concluding on Friday, a discussion on price rise will be taken up after that.

Sources in the Opposition also said a detailed plan of action has been drawn out for the dharna and a roster of duties created which is being circulated on a dedicated WhatsApp group.

While on Wednesday, idli-sambhar breakfast was organised by DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, lunch with curd rice was arranged by the DMK. Dinner will be roti, daal, paneer and chicken tandoori courtesy the TMC.

On Thursday, the DMK would be in charge of breakfast, the TRS of lunch and the AAP will arrange dinner.

Sources said the parties have taken upon themselves to appoint leaders to take turns of one to two hours to sit at the site in support of those who have been suspended. In fact parties such as the NCP and JMM who have no members suspended will also join the protests, sources said.

The leaders, however, will have to sleep under the sky, with their request of a tent being denied by the authorities, as no structures can be built, even temporarily inside the premises.

The protesting MPs can, however, use the toilet in the bathroom of the Parliament library.

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