Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged that women parliamentarians of his party were “manhandled” in the Lok Sabha when they were protesting in the Well of the House over the Maharashtra government formation.
IMAGE: Congress MPs Jothimani and Ramya Haridas interact with the media at Parliament House regarding the alleged misbehaviour by marshals during the winter session in New Delhi. Photograph: Shahbaz Khan/PTI Photo
Congress members jostled with the marshals in the Lok Sabha when they stormed the Well of the House carrying placards, leading to adjournment of Parliament proceedings.
“Security personnel manhandled our women parliamentarians. We have never experienced this inside Parliament. We will be waiting to see what action is been taken against responsible people,” Chowdhury told reporters.
The Maharashtra government formation issue rocked the Lok Sabha on Monday, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying democracy was “murdered” in the state.
Congress MP from Tamil Nadu Jothimani alleged that she was “manhandled”.
“It is sad that Ramya Haridas and me were manhandled, we have lodged complaint with the speaker,” she told reporters.
Chowdhury also said that what he saw in the House was unprecedented and Congress MPs were “pushed around”.
“It is a testing time for us. We have to decide whether we let democracy or authoritarianism prevail in this country,” he said.
The BJP accused Congress members of bringing “shame” to Lok Sabha with their “unruly” conduct in the House.
Speaking to reporters, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad appealed to all parties to maintain the sanctity and great traditions of Lok Sabha, asserting that Parliament cannot be allowed to become a place for “unruly” behaviour.
He was joined by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi and Arjun Ram Meghwal, Joshi‘s deputy, and also rejected the Congress‘ claim that the marshals misbehaved with its woman MPs in the House, saying “everybody saw what happened”.
“We outright condemn the reprehensible conduct of these MPs,” Prasad said and also criticised senior Congress leaders who did “nothing” to prevent them.
“These members have shamed Lok Sabha in front of the country,” he said.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi, both MPs, were in Lok Sabha during the incident.
Prasad said the speaker repeatedly appealed to Congress members to remove a banner they held across the Well and tried to stop others from asking questions when the House convened for the Question Hour.
“The way they behaved, the way they treated the marshals is height of indiscipline,” he said.