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Lok Sabha Speaker suspends 25 Congress MPs

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New Delhi: The parliament logjam took an ugly turn on Monday when Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan suspended 25 Congress MPs for five days for “willfully obstructing the business of the house”.

picture from- economictimes.indiatimes.com
picture from- economictimes.indiatimes.com

The Congress MPs, including Gaurav Gogoi, Sushmita Dev, Ranjeet Ranjan, K.C. Venugopal and Deepinder Singh Hooda, were “named” under rule 374(A).

The rule says in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the house or abusing the rules persistently and willfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the house for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less.

All the Congress members protesting in the well, however, kept up their high decibel protest inside the house even while their names were being read out.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha secretariat had said 27 members have been suspended. They later corrected the number to 25.

The speaker’s action came soon after the failure of an all party meeting called by the government to break the parliament logjam.

The members of the Congress, which has been protesting demanding the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers, have been holding placards and shouting slogans in the house.

They were protesting against the government over the Lalit Modi issue and Vyapam scam.

The Congress has 44 members in the Lok Sabha.

Immediately after naming the members, Mahajan adjourned the house for the day.

(IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)