New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday described the Lok Sabha speaker's decision to suspend 25 of her party MPs as a "murder" of democracy as she led a protest against the decision at the parliament house complex here.
On Monday, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan suspended 25 Congress parliamentarians for five days for "willfully obstructing the business of the house" and not adhering to her repeated warnings for observing rules in the house.
Wearing black arm bands, all major Congress leaders of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, including former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, former union ministers Anand Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress leader of the house in the lower house Mallikarjun Kharge joined the protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue outside the main gate of the parliament building.
"Down with Narendra Modi", "We want justice", and "Shame on you dictator", were the slogans raised by Congress members.
Sonia Gandhi said that the suspension of 25 MPs of the Congress by Mahajan was "anti-democratic" and described it as "murder" of democracy.
"It's duty of the government to run the house. The way our MPs were suspended, was anti-democratic. Democracy is being murdered," she told the media.
Rahul Gandhi justified the demand for resignations of the BJP leaders.
"Vyapam scam has destroyed lives of thousands. Sushma Swaraj has broken the laws and Rajasthan chief minister is financially involved with former IPL chief Lalit Modi," he said.
"The demand for their resignations is not the demand of the Congress party but of the entire country. I just want to bring the country's voice to the prime minister," he said.
"The prime minister likes to do his 'Mann ki baat', instead he should listen to 'Hindustan ke Mann ki baat'," he added
"We will not budge from our stand and there will be no let up in out pressure (on government) as far as issues of corruption, Sushma Swaraj and Vyapam are concerned," he said.
The Congress vice president said that the treatment meted to the 25 Congress MPs was being repeated across the country with college students, other groups and even in control of the internet.
Manmohan Singh said that suspending members of Congress party in Lok Sabha was no way to resolve issues.
Kharge said: "Many parties like the Trinamool Congress, Left and the Aam Aadmi Party have pledged their support to us and said they will boycott Lok Sabha proceedings".
The proceedings in the Lok Sabha began on a stormy note with Samajwadi party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav wanting to speak on the suspension of the Congress members.
Mahajan said he can raise the issue later, but the SP members walked out of the house in protest.
Many parties like the Trinamool Congress, Left and the Janata Dal (United) also boycotted the proceedings of the lower house.