Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra was expelled from the Lok Sabha on Friday afternoon for ‘unethical conduct’. The development came soon after an Ethics Committee report on the cash-for-query row was tabled before the Lok Sabha. Opposition members had questioned the procedure followed by the panel and demanded a discussion on the report.
Moitra however contended that the Ethics panel had no power to expel lawmakers. She also lambasted the Narendra Modi-led government for ‘shutting her into submission’ and dubbed it the beginning of the other party's end.
The TMC lawmaker also accused the Lok Sabha ethics panel report of “breaking every rule in the book".
"In essence, I have been found guilty of breaching a code of ethics that does not exist. The ethics panel is punishing me for practice that is routine, accepted and encouraged in Lok Sabha," Moitra said after her expulsion.
The TMC leader was not allowed to speak during the heated debate that came after the report was tabled. The motion — moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi — was adopted by a voice vote.
Opposition MPs had staged a walkout as Mahua's expulsion was announced. Several lawmakers have accused the BJP-led government of “vendetta politics" and dubbed the report “inadequate".
"It is a new black day in the new House. A new black chapter is starting today," Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said after the report was tabled.
The Congress leader, who is also the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, had earlier written to the Speaker, saying expulsion is "an extremely serious punishment and has very wide ramifications". He had also written to Speaker Om Birla on Friday afternoon to seek a postponement of the debate.
“We believe the report is incomplete, because the deposition was not completed. Five MPs walked out and the report was adopted in two-and-a-half minutes. We want a discussion on this. The walkout by MPs was because they were asking filthy questions. It is there in the minutes (of the meeting)," said BSP MP Danish Ali who is a member of the ethics panel.
“This report is a deeply inadequate document. It fails to meet the basic standards of any report that can come up with such a dramatic recommendation of expulsion. It has also been apparently adopted in two-and-a-half minutes without any serious discussion...no cross-examination of those who made the accusations and no fair chance for the person who is being expelled to be heard in her own defence. For INDIA parties this is a travesty of justice," added Shashi Tharoor.