Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan today suspended 26 MPs of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) for five sittings of the Lok Sabha for entering the well of the House and disrupting proceedings. The AIADMK MPs had raised slogans against the Mekedatu Project, which calls for a dam to create a reservoir on the Cauvery river in Karnataka.
The AIADMK lawmakers have been protesting for days now, demanding that they be given time in the House to discuss their opposition to the project, as well as the contentious go-ahead given to the project by the Central Water Commission (CWC).
They raised slogans in the well of the House as speaker after speaker laid out their opinions in the debate on the Rafale deal. Just before adjourning the House for the day, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced that the 26 members were being suspended for five days of sitting of the Lok Sabha.
Senior AIADMK leader M Thambidurai, who is also the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, said lawmakers from his party were duty bound to raise the issue of their state in the House. “We are not finding fault with the Speaker. What she has done is correct. We have come into the well of the House and disrupted proceedings. It is against the rules. So, we agree with the action she has taken,” he said to reporters outside Parliament House.
“Now, elections are coming, so the BJP wants to get some seats there (Karnataka). That is why they gave approval to Karnataka for Mekedatu dam project. Protesting is our democratic right,” Thambidurai added.