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Published On: Mon, Sep 21st, 2020

Rajya Sabha: 8 Opposition MPs suspended after protests over farm bills

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MPNEW DELHI : Rajya Sabha on Monday suspended eight Opposition MPs for their “unruly” behaviour with Deputy Chairman Harivansh on Sunday during the debate and voting on the two farm sector Bills.
Chairman of Rajya Sabha M. Venkaiah Naidu also rejected the Opposition’s no-confidence motion against the Deputy Chairman, saying the notice was not in proper format. However the suspended MPs refused to leave the House and the day’s proceedings saw repeated disruptions and adjournments.
The motion was moved by V Murlidharan, MoS for Parliamentary Affairs, following which the House suspended Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen of Trinamool Congress, Rajeev Satav, Ripun Bora, and Syed Naseer Hussain of Congress, Sanjay Singh of Aam Aadmi Party and KK Ragesh and E Kareem of Communist Party of India-Marxist.
The members, including Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s Sanjay singh, Congress’s Rajeev Satav and CPM’s KK Ragesh, were told they had displayed “unruly behavior especially with the Chair and gross disorderly conduct”.
Meanwhile, TMC’s Derek O’Brien & Dola Sen, AAP’s Sanjay Singh, INC’s Rajeev Satav, Ripun Bora & Syed Nasir Hussain, CPI(M)’s KK Ragesh & Elamaram Karim suspended for one week for unruly behaviour with the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman on Sunday, held protest in Parliament premises on Monday
The suspended members refused to leave the house while the opposition protested loudly against the action, causing five adjournments of the Rajya Sabha. The opposition said the members should have been given a chance to explain and demanded a vote on their suspension, but the Rajya Sabha said the decision was based on a government motion.

“I am pained at what happened yesterday. It defies logic. It is a bad day for Rajya Sabha,” said Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu. He said the members threw papers, wrenched mics away, “physically threatened” Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh and even abused him.

Mr. Naidu also rejected the Opposition’s notice of no-confidence against the Deputy Chairman for not allowing a division of votes. Stating that he had received a letter from Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and 46 other MPs, Mr. Naidu said the no-confidence notice was not in the proper format and that the 14 day-notice period was not followed as the session is set to end on October 1.
But the eight suspended MPs didn’t budge, even after the house adjourned, and one of them even called for a blanket and pillows for an overnight stake-out. Later, they protested on the lawns of the Parliament Complex, holding up placards that read – “We will fight for farmers” and “parliament assassinated”.
“When the chairman names a member then that member has to leave the House. Never before has a member defied the orders of the Chair. Eight suspended MPs had misbehaved, it was a type of ”goondaism”. They have proved that they have no trust in democracy,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi told reporters.
Two of the government’s three farm bills, which have led to massive protests by opposition parties and farmers, were passed on Sunday amid an uproar in the Rajya Sabha.

Sanjay Singh and Rajiv Satav climbed onto the Secretary General’s table at the centre of the house, Derek O’Brien waved a rule book in front of the Chairperson and tried to tear it up and some members pulled out mics at their seats. A few members also tore up copies of the bills. At one point, marshals formed a wall between the Deputy Chairman and the protesting members.
The bills, which were cleared in the Lok Sabha earlier, will now go to the President for sign-off before becoming law.

The opposition, which lacked the numbers to block legislation, had called for the farms bills to be sent to a select committee for review. They had also asked for the discussion to be extended to today. Harivansh Singh refused and allowed Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to continue his reply before voting on the bills.
The row escalated when the opposition demanded physical voting but Harivansh Singh refused. Opposition members ran to the Chair, attempted to tear up the rule book and tried to snatch the Deputy Chairman’s mic. A voice vote took place amid slogans from the opposition.
The manner in which bills were passed yesterday was “murder of democracy”, said the opposition. “Muting Of Democratic India continues: by initially silencing and later, suspending MPs in the Parliament and turning a blind eye to farmers’ concerns on the black agriculture laws.
This ‘omniscient’ government’s endless arrogance has brought economic disaster for the entire country,” tweeted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of the Trinamool Congress also posted: “Absolutely unbelievable! BJP MURDERED democracy by ruthlessly silencing all the opposition leaders in Rajya Sabha yesterday. Citizens of the nation, raise your voice before we’re completely under Narendra Modi’s dictatorship! #BJPKilledDemocracy”.

The government says the bills will make it easier for farmers to sell their produce directly to big buyers, reform antiquated laws and remove middlemen from agriculture trade, allowing farmers to sell to institutional buyers and large retailers.

But the opposition argues that farmers will lose their bargaining power if retailers have tighter control over them. The parties also believe the proposed laws will destroy wholesale markets which ensure fair and timely payments to farmers, weaken the state’s farmers by ranging them against big business, and hit the overall state economy.

On Sunday, as many as 100 members from 12 opposition lllparties had submitted a no-confidence motion against Harivansh after he overruled opposition pleas for postponing agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s reply to the debate on the two farm bills till Monday since the sitting time scheduled of the House was over.
Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, the Trinamool’s chief whip of Trinamool Congress in the Upper House, said the role of the chair in the suspension of the opposition MPs was “ex facie partisan, unprecedented and unlawful”
(With Agency Inputs ).

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