Mahua Moitra’s Expulsion from Lok Sabha over Cash-for-Query Allegations: Unpacking the Controversy and Political Backlash
Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra faced expulsion from the Lok Sabha today following a heated debate on allegations of Cash-for-Query.
Despite the Trinamool’s plea to grant her the opportunity to speak on behalf of the party, Moitra was not allowed to address the Lok Sabha during the debate. The expulsion decision, supported by a majority vote, prompted Moitra to deliver a prepared statement outside the Lok Sabha.
Branding the proceedings as a “kangaroo court,” Mahua Moitra argued that the decision lacked evidence of any cash transactions. She highlighted that Darshan Hiranandani, the industrialist involved in the allegations, was not allowed to present his side to the ethics committee.
According to Moitra, the expulsion was based solely on the complaint that she shared her login, a matter not explicitly governed by any rule.
Ethics Committee Report and Lok Sabha Speaker’s Pronouncement
The Ethics Committee report recommending Moitra’s expulsion was swiftly tabled on today, leading to her immediate removal. Both Congress and Trinamool representatives requested additional time to review the report but were unable to prevent the prompt expulsion.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla announced the expulsion, endorsing the Ethics Committee’s report that deemed Mahua Moitra’s conduct as “immoral and indecent” for an MP. Birla stated, “This House accepts the conclusions of the Committee that MP Mahua Moitra’s conduct was immoral and indecent as an MP. So, it is not appropriate for her to continue as an MP.”
Cash-for-Query Allegation Overview
The Cash-for-Query allegation against Mahua Moitra involved accusations of accepting cash and gifts from industrialist Darshan Hiranandani. Allegedly, this was in exchange for using her Parliament login to post questions against Gautam Adani and the Adani Group. The complaint was initially filed by advocate Jai Anant Dehadrai, forwarded by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, and later referred to the ethics committee.
The ethics committee, after questioning key individuals including Nishikant Dubey, Jai Anant Dehadrai, and Mahua Moitra, recommended her expulsion. The Lok Sabha took up the committee’s report on Friday, leading to Mahua Moitra’s expulsion.
Opposition’s Solidarity against Mahua Moitra’s expulsion
Mahua Moitra’s expulsion became a rallying point for the opposition, with Sonia Gandhi expressing solidarity as she stood beside Moitra during her post-expulsion statement. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury argued during the debate that two hours were insufficient to comprehensively review the extensive report.
Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee criticized the process, declaring injustice against Mahua Moitra. She questioned the limited time allocated to parties for reviewing the 495-page report and asserted the INDIA alliance’s united support. Banerjee condemned the denial of an opportunity for Moitra to present her case.
Timeline of Events
October 15: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey lodges a complaint against Mahua Moitra, alleging cash and gift acceptance to pose questions against Adani.
October 17: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla forwards the complaint to the Ethics Committee.
October 19: Darshan Hiranandani admits using Moitra’s Parliament login to post questions against Adani.
Last Week of October: Moitra admits sharing login details but claims it was for assistance in uploading questions.
November 2: Moitra appears before the ethics committee, walking out alleging intrusive personal questioning.
November 9: The ethics committee adopts a report recommending Moitra’s suspension.
December 8: The ethics committee report is tabled in the Lok Sabha, leading to Mahua Moitra’s expulsion.
Mahua Moitra’s expulsion from the Lok Sabha has ignited a heated debate on procedural fairness, justice, and democratic principles, setting the stage for potential shifts in the political landscape.
The public’s perception of Mahua Moitra’s expulsion may have repercussions, impacting the political landscape in West Bengal and beyond. Opposition leaders characterized the expulsion as an injustice, raising concerns about the democratic process. The incident has the potential to shape the political discourse and dynamics in the coming days.