Nearly 2/3rd Of Opposition Suspended, No Challenge For BJP In Parliament

Many of the opposition lawmakers who remain are from outfits like Andhra Pradesh's YSR Congress Party and Odisha's Biju Janata Dal, which are seen as unofficial allies of the BJP

Nearly 2/3rd Of Opposition Suspended, No Challenge For BJP In Parliament

Nearly 150 opposition MPs have been suspended from Parliament over the past few days.

New Delhi:

The ruling BJP faces almost no opposition in either House of Parliament Tuesday, after the Lok Sabha followed its ejection of 33 members yesterday (and 13 last week) with 49 more this morning. A total of 141 MPs, including those from the Rajya Sabha, have been thrown out so far. There are still three days left in this Winter Session, which will be Parliament's final full sitting before next year's general election.

The aggressive stance towards the opposition may be fueled by that knowledge - that Parliament will dissolve in three months and there is no major legislative business between then and now.

READ | 141 Opposition MPs Suspended In Record-Breaking Parliament Standoff

So, exactly how many opposition MPs are left?

At full strength the Lok Sabha seats 543 MPs. However, 21 seats are vacant, leaving the current strength at 522. Of these, 323 are held either by BJP MPs or those from an allied party.

There are 142 opposition MPs in the Lok Sabha, of whom 67 per cent have been suspended.

There are now only 47 opposition lawmakers still sitting in the Lower House.

In the Rajya Sabha, there are fewer than 100 opposition MPs left to question the ruling party.

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Many of the opposition lawmakers who remain are from outfits like Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSR Congress Party and the Biju Janata Dal that is in power in Odisha, which have supported the BJP on various issues, including passing of controversial bills when the ruling party did not have the numbers.

According to the Lok Sabha website, the agenda for today has union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Hardeep Singh Puri moving two bills. There is no listed business in the Rajya Sabha, except for "... consideration of any item of Government business" that was not concluded on Monday.

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Among the major figures thrown out of Parliament in this session are the Congress' Shashi Tharoor and Karti Chidambaram, the NCP's Supriya Sule, the Samajwadi Party's Dimple Yadav, and Farooq Abdullah, the National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister.

Mr Tharoor told NDTV today's suspensions were a "betrayal of parliamentary democracy".

READ | In Unprecedented Move, Close To 100 MPs Suspended From Parliament

On Monday, the Congress' top two leaders in the Lok Sabha - Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Gaurav Gogoi were thrown out. Speaking to NDTV, Mr Gogoi slammed the "arrogance" of Home Minister Amit Shah for prioritising an interview with a private TV channel over addressing Parliament.

READ | "Arrogant": Congress MP Slams Amit Shah After Nearly 100 MPs Suspended

Earlier today a triumphant Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the opposition for their protests, and declared it had been left rattled by a hat-trick of defeats - in Hindi heartland states - after five state polls last month, which were widely seen as a 'semi-final' before the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

The mass suspensions come amid vociferous protests over last week's Parliament security breach; the opposition has demanded that either Prime Minister Modi or Mr Shah make a statement in the House to explain how and why there was such a major gaffe, particularly on the 22nd anniversary of a terror attack on the old Parliament building in which nine people were killed.

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Last week two men popped yellow smoke canisters inside the Lok Sabha, and two other individuals burst red and yellow smoke cans outside the new Parliament building, prompting a security scare.

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The four are now being interrogated by Delhi Police's Special Cell. Two others, including Lalit Jha, the alleged mastermind, are also in custody and have been charged under UAPA, the anti-terror law.

The smoke scare has been played down by the government, insisting it does not merit a formal statement by either the PM or Mr Shah. The Lok Sabha Secretariat, which is in charge of security for the Parliament complex, has also refused to involve the government, pointing out a "high-powered committee" is investigating the breach and that its full report will be made available to all MPs.

Prime Minister Modi, in his first comment following the December 13 breach, acknowledged the incident as "very serious" but criticised the opposition for politicising the issue. "It is important to find out which elements are behind this and what their objectives are. There is no need to debate this, there should be a detailed investigation," he told Dainik Jagran newspaper in an interview.

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