India Opposition Accuses Government of Attacking Democracy After Suspension of 78 MPs

In a move that has sparked outrage among Indian opposition leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has suspended 78 MPs in one day, leading to accusations of an attack on democracy. The MPs were protesting against a recent security breach in parliament, which occurred on the 22nd anniversary of a militant attack on the parliament. With a total of 92 opposition lawmakers suspended in the ongoing session, tensions between the opposition and the government are expected to worsen. The majority of the suspended MPs are part of the INDIA alliance, a coalition of opposition parties aiming to challenge Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in the upcoming general election next year.

The suspension of the MPs has raised concerns about the erosion of democratic principles in India. Opposition MPs have demanded a statement from either the federal Home Minister Amit Shah or Prime Minister Modi regarding the security breach, yet neither leader has spoken in parliament. Instead, Modi emphasized the seriousness of the incident in an interview with the Dainik Jagran newspaper and called for a thorough investigation. Meanwhile, Shah accused the opposition of politicizing the breach and announced a high-level inquiry into the matter.

The reason behind the security breach is still unclear, but media reports suggest that the protesters involved were unemployed individuals expressing their frustration with the government’s policies. Citing the need for accountability, opposition leaders argue that the government’s reluctance to address the issue in parliament demonstrates a lack of respect for the institution and the Indian people it represents.

Opposition MPs, including Mallikarjun Kharge and Manoj Kumar Jha, who have not yet been suspended, view the suspensions as a means of suppressing the questions they raise. They claim that the government intentionally suspended these leaders to pass important bills without proper debate. On the other hand, federal minister Piyush Goyal has accused the opposition of pre-planned strategies to disrupt parliament and obstruct the passing of crucial bills. Goyal also criticized opposition MPs for disrespecting the parliament and its speakers by bringing protest signs into the well of the house.

The current suspensions are expected to further strain the already frosty relations between the opposition and the government. The INDIA alliance plans to meet to discuss the situation, while the suspended MPs face varying lengths of suspension depending on the decision of the parliament’s privileges committee. These suspensions have raised concerns about the erosion of democratic values and the potential impact on the upcoming general election. As the winter session comes to a close, the aftermath of suspensions and the government’s response will likely dominate discussions and further shape the political landscape in India.