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Published On: Sun, Sep 27th, 2020

RS Video of Farm Bills Vote Contrasts With Govt Version of Events

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Rajya-Sabha-Video-of-Farm-Bill-Vote-Shreds-Governments-VersionNEW DELHI: The government had claimed that rules were followed during the voting of farm bills in Rajya Sabha on 20 September. Deputy Chairman Harivansh said that the demand for voting wasn’t made by members from their respective seats.
During the ruckus in the House, the deputy chairman was heard saying that members have to be in their seats to demand a division of votes. However, official footage of Rajya Sabha TV, accessed by a TV Channel , shows otherwise.
The footage shows that on two instances, two members – DMK’s Tiruchi Siva and CPM’s KK Ragesh were in their seats during the call for division of votes. This is in contrast with what the government said had happened.The voice vote has been hugely controversial.
The opposition alleged that the government lacked numbers, which would have become clear if a physical voting was held. They also accused Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh, who was presiding over the proceedings, of colluding with the government.
Mr Singh and the government have claimed that the opposition demands for physical voting were negated as the members were not in their seats while making the demand.

The footage reviewed by a TV Channel shows that at least two of the three MPs Ragesh and Trichy Siva — who moved motion to send the controversial bills to a select committee, were in their seats when they demanded a division of votes.

In addition, rules were broken while extending the session timing on request of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi. A session can be extended only with agreement of both government and the opposition.
But in this case, the Rajya Sabha footage clearly showed that around 1.03 pm, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Opposition parties are saying that time should not be extended today and tomorrow the minister can reply…”

DMK MP Trichy Siva, a member of parliament for the last two decades, “Usually, the house is extended after taking consensus of the house”. But the extension was made “just looking at the treasury benches… despite members from 12 opposition parties on their feet asking for adjournment. This is in clear violation of Rajya Sabha Rule 37,” he said.

The Deputy Chairman in a statement today denied the opposition’s allegations with an “incident report” detailing minute by minute account of what happened inside the house.

“When Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister for Agriculture was replying on the Farmers’Bill, 2020, some Members disregarded the authority of the Chair, abused the rules of the Council (Rajya Sabha) by persistently and willfully obstructing the business thereof. A detailed report in this regard as per the available footage is as under…” the statement said. It showed a table with timestamps and the “incidents”.
Calling Parliamentary Affairs Minister’s request to extend the house till the passing of the bills a “normal practice”, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad later said, “The sense of the house is not gathered by majority and minority”.
The footage from Rajya Sabha also showed at 1.10 pm, when the Deputy Chairman took Trichy Siva’s motion for sending the bills to a select committee, he was in his seat and demanded division of votes. But the motion was negated through voice vote.
When Kerala’s CPM member KK Ragesh’s amendment was taken up next at 1.11 pm, he was also in his seat and demanded division of votes, shows the footage. But again, the motion was negated through voice vote.
Speaking to NDTV, Mr Ragesh said the government allegation that members not in their seats while demanding division was a “blatant lie”. Accusing Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh of colluding with the government, the opposition had passed a no-confidence motion against him, which was negated by the Upper House Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.
(With Agency Inputs).

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