The overnight sit-in by several members from the opposition benches who were suspended from the Rajya Sabha on Monday for the remainder of the ongoing monsoon session is a throwback to similar protests when MPs decided to bring the protest to the precincts of Parliament.
During most sessions it is not uncommon to see MPs raise issues, carry placards, raise slogans near the Gandhi statute within the complex. Sometimes they try to sneak in placards inside the House as well which is not permitted and usually met with a reprimand from the Speaker in the Lok Sabha or the Chairperson in the Rajya Sabha.
Protests that hit headlines over the years include the blocking of the main gate of Parliament during the Telangana statehood demand.
In April 2012, at the peak of the pro-Telangana movement, 8 Congress MPs staged a protest by blocking Parliament’s main gate for 30 minutes and raised pro-Telangana slogans. They had been suspended from Lok Sabha for four days for their unruly behaviour in the House and causing disruptions.
The suspended MPs – Ponnam Prabhakar, Madhu Yaskhi Goud, M Jagannath, KRG Reddy, G Viveknanda, Balram Naik, Sukender Reddy Gutha and S Rajaiah – had occupied the steps of the main gate of Parliament, forcing MPs to use other gates to enter and exit Parliament.
A year later, five Congress MPs from Telangana sat on a two-day protest in Parliament to push for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. GS Reddy, Manda Jagannathan, Poonam Prabhakar, G Vivekananda and S Rajaiah sat at the main entrance of Parliament carrying placards.
In 2018, Telugu Desam Party MPs staged a sit-in inside Lok Sabha speaker’s chambers demanding special status for Andhra Pradesh. The then Speaker Sumitra Mahajan was not present in the chamber. They had to be marshalled out late in the evening.