The government has indicated that it will agree to discuss the price hike in the Rajya Sabha next week, complying with the long-standing demand of the opposition. But the opposition is not backing down from the protests. The premise of the Sangsad has become a centre for protest since the day before yesterday. Four suspended Congress MPs from the Lok Sabha also joined the Dharna of suspended MPs from the Rajya Sabha (where the Trinamool is) during the night.
According to sources, ten opposition leaders had a meeting with Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday morning. They demanded to lift the suspension of 19 opposition MPs. Although the government and the opposition do not agree on that, the government has indicated to discuss the price increase. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi, Rajya Sabha Leader Piyush Goyal, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Muralidharan were present in that meeting. Opposition leaders included Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge, Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, CPM’s Elamaram Kareem, TRS’s Suresh Reddy.
Even though the Centre practically accepted the demand for discussion on the price hike, the opposition now wants to bring forward the issue of suspending 19 MPs of the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday (AAP’s Sanjay Singh was also suspended for tearing the paper the day before yesterday). So since the day before yesterday continuous relay Dharna (at the foot of Gandhi statue) has been organized for fifty continuous hours (till 12.30 noon today) mainly by the groups of suspended MPs. Those MPs will take turns there. Derek, however, said parties like NCP or Shiv Sena (whose MPs were not suspended) would also join for the sake of opposition unity. It has been informed that Congress MPs can also join it if they wish. In the night, Jairam Ramesh tweeted and included the Congress in the group of protestors. Four Congress MPs who were suspended from the Lok Sabha joined the sit-in at night.
Kharge, Derek demanded to lift the suspension in the morning meeting on Wednesday. According to sources, the chairman said that if the MPs express regret for their behaviour on Tuesday, it will be removed immediately. The opposition did not accept this condition. Derek countered that the government should apologize for the decision. The Trinamool claimed that a few opposition parliamentary leaders had a domestic conversation with Modi government minister Piyush Goyal yesterday and he admitted there that there was no need to suspend so many people.
But all in all Trinamool Congress, TRS, DMK and the Left want to continue the anti-BJP in Parliament through this relay Dharna. AAP also joined this party the day before yesterday. The sit-in will continue day and night in shifts after obtaining permission and all-out cooperation from the Parliament security personnel. Trinamool’s Derek, Shantanu Sen, Abir Ranjan Biswas and Dola Sen were there all night. That day food was given by Trinamool. DMK yesterday morning, TRS in the afternoon and AAP in the night took charge. This Dharna was started yesterday morning after half past eleven.