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Voice of the opposition is being suppressed in parliament : Rahul Gandhi

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New Delhi: The voice of the opposition is “being suppressed in parliament”, said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi as the party continued its protest for the third day on Thursday over the suspension of 25 of its MPs by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.

credits: Indiatoday
credits: Indiatoday

Senior leaders including party president Sonia Gandhi, party vice president Rahul Gandhi, and former prime minister Manmohan Singh held a protest near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at the parliament complex.

The protestors wore black bands on their arms.

“Voice of the opposition is being suppressed in parliament,” Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi told reporters.

The Congress members continued to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his inaction against the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and BJP Chief Ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan for their involvement in the Lalit Modi controversy and Vyapam recruitment scam.

Shouting anti-government slogans, the members maintained that they will continue to protest against the suspension of their colleagues till top BJP leaders involved in the controversy resign.

The Janata Dal-United and Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders also participated in the protest.

JD-U President Sharad Yadav urged the Lok Sabha speaker to revoke the suspension of the Congress MPs.

“The speaker’s decision has created a tension between the government and the opposition,” he told reporters.

On Monday, Mahajan suspended the Congress MPs for five days for “wilfully obstructing the business of the house” and not adhering to her repeated requests to observe the rules in the house.

(IANS)

 

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Sri Lanka Forms Its Cabinet But Crisis Still Persists

Sirisena was health minister in Rajapaksa’s Cabinet when he defected and joined Wickremesinghe to challenge Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election.

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Sri Lanka, cabinet
Ranil Wickremesinghe, ousted as prime minister in October, takes his oath for the same post before Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena during his swearing-in ceremony in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Dec. 16, 2018. VOA

Sri Lanka’s president Thursday appointed 28 lawmakers and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Cabinet ministers after weeks of political crisis led to government dysfunction.

President Maithripala Sirisena administered oaths in a private event. Wickremesinghe’s reinstatement as prime minister earlier this week and the appointment of a new Cabinet will result in Sri Lanka’s government resuming functions that have been obstructed since October, but continued acrimony between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe means the crisis is far from over.

Notably, Sirisena has not appointed a law and order minister, a crucial post for investigating corruption and crime allegations against former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family and government members. Wickremesinghe promised such investigations before the 2015 elections.

 

Sri lanka, cabinet
Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, front left, is sworn in as prime minister before President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo, Sri Lanka. VOA

Sirisena sparked the crisis in October when he suddenly sacked Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Rajapaksa in his place.

 

Wickremesinghe insisted he was sacked illegally and hunkered down in the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo, while Rajapaksa failed to secure majority support in Parliament in two chaotic no-confidence votes.

Sirisena dissolved Parliament and called for elections. The Supreme Court first suspended the move and later declared the dissolution unconstitutional.

Separately, the Court of Appeal ordered Rajapaksa and his Cabinet to cease functioning. As a result, the newly restored government in Sri Lanka has only 11 days left to pass a budget to provision state money in 2019.

 

sri lanka, cabinet
Sri Lanka’s ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe reacts during a news conference in Colombo, Sri Lanka, VOA

 

After reappointing Wickremesinghe, Sirisena made a speech saying he doubted that the new arrangement would last long. Sri Lankans are not scheduled to go to the national polls again until 2020, but if the government fails to function, Parliament can pass a resolution with a two-thirds vote for snap elections.

Also Read: Lawmakers in Sri Lanka Defect From President to Prime Minister

Sirisena was health minister in Rajapaksa’s Cabinet when he defected and joined Wickremesinghe to challenge Rajapaksa in the 2015 presidential election. After victory he formed a government with Wickremesinghe as prime minister, but the two disagreed on everything from economic reform to investigating alleged government abuses during Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war. (VOA)