Dressed in black, opposition MPs stage noisy protest in Lok Sabha; adjourned proceedings

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Dressed in black shirts, kurtas and bands on their sleeves, Congress MPs staged a noisy protest inside the Lok Sabha on Friday with members of the DMK, NCP and leftist parties, prompting an abrupt adjournment of the proceedings.

While Congresswoman Sonia Gandhi wore a black blouse, Rahul Gandhi wore a black shirt and some MPs wrapped black cloth around their shoulders in addition to wearing black bands.

As the House convened, Speaker Om Birla made an obituary and remembered the victims of the Hiroshima bombing. Immediately after the House observed a minute’s silence, Congress Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury rose to speak, but the Speaker did not allow it. The Congress, accompanied by deputies from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), then entered the well of the Chamber shouting slogans demanding “justice”. Members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) joined the noisy protests with applause.

Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi outside parliament. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

The President then resumed Question Time, but the chanting continued. Visibly angry, Birla reiterated that MPs should return to their seats and could raise the issue during Zero Hour. “It is not right. You cannot shout slogans. It undermines the dignity of the House. The world is watching you,” Birla said. But opposition MPs only shouted more loudly, prompting the President to adjourn the debate until noon.

After the House adjourned, Congress MPs led by Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi staged a protest march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan shouting slogans against rising prices. Some of the MPs carried garlands made of green vegetables and empty packets of dairy products outside the Chamber.