TDP MPs sit on dharna inside Speaker’s chamber, forcibly removed


At least 15 MPs belonging to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Friday sat on a dharna inside Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s chamber to protest against her decision to not admit their no-trust motion against the government, and were forcibly removed in the evening.

This came a day after the TDP MPs staged a similar sit-in inside Rajya Sabha.

The MPs entered the Speaker’s chamber soon after the lower House was adjourned sine die in the morning and stayed put there till the marshals removed them around 6.15 p.m. The security earlier put off the airconditioner and the lights but the protesters still stayed inside the chamber.

One of the MPs, Murali Mohan, fell ill when the marshals were removing the protesting parliamentarians and had to be taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in an ambulance.

The TDP members had been noisily protesting in both Houses of Parliament holding placards etc, demanding special category status to Andhra Pradesh. Around mid-March, having quit the NDA, they gave no-confidence motion against the government but it was not admitted by the Speaker.

“We had been protesting for last 13 day for no-confidence motion. But today, the last day of this session, when the House was adjourned sine die, we entered into Speaker’s chamber to find out as to why she could not conduct the business and why she could not make government responsible for the lapses. She had no answer and left her office. We sat there as gherao to protest,” the party’s Amalapuram MP Ravindra Babu told IANS.

“Now they have thrown us out with the help of marshals. This is the fate of democracy, this is the fate of Andhra Pradesh and its five crore people. I can tell you one thing, BJP has no faith in democratic principles. I think they are headed for a disaster in 2019,” he added.

On being pointed out that the TDP was very much a coalition partner in the BJP-led ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for the last four years, why it did not bring up the special status issue with the central government, Babu said they had been expecting the government to fulfil their demand.

“We had been patiently waiting and they (Centre) kept giving small-small instalments with the hope that this year we would get what is legitimate due to Andhra Pradesh. But in the Budget, they showed empty hands. Then we decided it was high time we leave this government. It is highly irresponsible, highly violative of coalition partners,” he said.

Asked if TDP would follow in the footsteps of YSR Congress members who have resigned from the Lok Sabha, Babu said quitting Parliament was no solution.

“Resigning from Parliament does not mean anything. As an MP you can come and make your presence felt in the House. After resignation, what are you going to do. Parliament is the place where you can achieve your goals. When you abdicate your responsibility and run away by resigning, this does not mean anything to the people. They (YSR members) are cheating the people who have elected them,” he said.

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