Congress brass staged protest at RML hospital alleging death announcement was delayed deliberately
New Delhi: Hectic parleys involving ministers,oppositionleadersandLok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan put an end to the Wednesday morning suspense on whether the death of sitting MP E Ahamed would affect the Budget presentation.
Tension escalated when Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Ghulam Nabi Azad, protested on late Tuesday night at New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital after they and Ahamed’s family members felt the official announcement of his death was deliberately delayed. However, early Wednesday morning saw official announce- ment on the MP’s death, hectic talks between the government and Opposition sides for ensuring smooth functioning of the House and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the deceased MP’s House to pay his respects.
For the record, the Congress urged the Speaker to postpone the Budget presentation and adjour n the House after condoling the MP’s death. But according to a party insider it was more of a way of registering its protest against the government’s ‘graceless handling’ of Ahamed’s death, the ‘delay’ in formal announcement and the attempt by hospital and police to prevent Ahamed’s children from seeing their father after they reached the hospital on Tuesday evening. LAST RESPECTS: Kerala leaders paying homage to E Ahamed in Kozhikode
Ahamed’s family threatened that it would announce the MP’s death if authorities delayed the announcement. By Tuesday afternoon itself, Congress MPs had informally told others in Parliament that Ahamed’s death was confirmed by doctors when t h e y, i n c l u d i n g Rahul Gandhi, reached the hospital after the MP was taken there. A Congress MP said that they had expected the government to make it official on Tuesday itself and work out an agreement with the Opposition, and family members, on functioning of the House to enable presentation of the Budget. Some government managers gave precedents of Budget presentation despite death of sitting MP, but was countered by Opposition MPs who argued in such cases delaying the announcement of death was made after taking family members of the deceased MP into confidence.
Finally, the decision was left to the Speaker. Mahajan read out obituary remarks and said that the Budget would be presented after obituary references as the President had given the formal direction for presenting the Budget. She also said the House would not function on Thursday as a mark of respect to Ahamed. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, then, made it a point to demand postponement of the Budget and added that doctors had confirmed Ahamed’s death on Tuesday. After that Congress MPs from Kerala staged a walkout.