Manipur riots: Opposition demands discussion in both houses

Parliament logjam continues as Rajya Sabha flooded with 50 notices to discuss Manipur Riots, business suspension demanded

| Updated: 25 July, 2023 5:25 pm IST
Opposition parties met at Parliament to discuss their strategy 

KOLKATA: The Parliament is currently in a state of pandemonium as the opposition intensifies its demands for a discussion on the ongoing Manipur crisis, both in the lower and upper houses.

Rajya Sabha chairman, Jagdeep Dhankhar, finds himself inundated with 50 notices urging the suspension of regular business to prioritise the urgent matter of the Manipur riots.

In a significant development, sources reveal that various opposition parties, under the newly formed alliance I.N.D.I.A., have decided to collectively move a motion of no-confidence against the government in the Lok Sabha.

“I.N.D.I.A. parties decide to move a no-confidence motion against the government in Lok Sabha,” sources told The New Indian.

However, it is important to note that a motion of no confidence can only be introduced in the Lok Sabha – the lower house of Parliament – after garnering support from at least 50 members of Parliament.

While the strategy for Rajya Sabha – the upper house – is yet to receive a final nod, attempts are being made to end the logjam. In this regard, Om Birla, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, convened an all-party meeting of floor leaders on Tuesday to find a resolution to the impasse.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Adhir Ranjan Choudhury said, “PM is also the leader of the Lok Sabha. As members of the Lok Sabha, we requested the Prime Minister to speak on Manipur. Will the sky fall off if the PM discusses Manipur?”

“Whatever he said outside the Parliament, he can say the same inside the parliament to initiate the discussion. We never asked him to speak on Manipur throughout the day or for one hour,” the senior Congress leader said.

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Remarkably, it has been two decades since the opposition parties last moved a no-confidence motion against the government in the lower house.

Adding to the drama, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Derek O’Brien has accused the authorities of stifling the voice of the Leader of Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, by switching off his mike during the parliamentary proceedings today amid protests over the Manipur riots. As a sign of protest, the opposition parties walked out, further fueling the turmoil.

In response to the mounting pressure from the opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a BJP parliamentary party meeting, launched a scathing attack on the opposing parties, describing them as “directionless” following the chaos witnessed in Parliament.

PM Modi drew analogies with historical entities like the East India Company and the terrorist organisation Indian Mujahideen to assert that merely adding ‘I.N.D.I.A.’ to their names would not lend credibility to their actions.

O’Brien countered the PM’s attack, asserting that the government and the BJP were evidently rattled after hearing the mention of I.N.D.I.A. and were now resorting to reactive responses with a lack of substance.

ALSO READ: Deadlock continues in Parliament over Manipur issue

“PM Modi and the BJP are completely rattled after they heard the name I.N.D.I.A., Jeetega Bharat. They are in reactive mode. They have no good response and that is why he is coming up with all these crazy explanations,” the TMC leader said.

Urging the Prime Minister to address the Manipur crisis in any of the houses as per his choice, Derek O’Brien added, “Perhaps for the first time since 2014, the BJP doesn’t have an answer.”

The Monsoon Session of Parliament, which commenced on July 20, has now entered its fourth day of deadlock between the ruling party and the opposition, as Manipur continues to be engulfed in violence for over 80 days.

The situation in Manipur remains dire, with escalating ethnic violence resulting in numerous casualties, injuries, and appalling atrocities against women. The severity of the situation has forced many residents to flee their home state and seek refuge in neighbouring regions.

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