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Farmers’ protest rocks Parliament

Opp parties give adjournment motion notice, demand repeal of farm laws; both Houses fail to transact business

The farmers’ agitation created turmoil both in and outside Parliament on Tuesday. Opposition leaders did not allow both Houses to function protesting against the farm laws and demanding immediate discussion on the ongoing farmers’ agitation. They also slammed the Government for putting up barricade and surrounding the Ghazipur dharna site in the national Capital with concertina wire.

In the Lok Sabha, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the Government is ready to discuss issues related to farmers inside and outside Parliament. After repeat adjournments, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House till 7 pm as Opposition members continued their protest demanding that Government take back “black laws”.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said disturbing discussion on President’s address is “against the tradition”.

As the House proceeding started, the Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and the CPI(M) gave an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha over the demand for repealing all three farm laws in view of the ongoing farmers’ protest.

Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut too moved an adjournment motion notice demanding discussion on Republic Day violence in Delhi during farmers’ tractor rally.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed disruptions over the farm laws as Opposition parties, including the Congress, Left, the TMC and the DMK staged a walkout four times after their demand for suspension of business of the day to take up a discussion on more than two-month-old farmers’ agitation was rejected by Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.

The Opposition parties had given notice calling for the suspension of business of the day to take up discussion on the ongoing agitation by farmers on Delhi borders against three new farm laws.

When the House met for the day, Naidu said he has received notice under rule 267 from various members but the issue can be raised during the discussion on motion of thanks to the President’s address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament. The President, he said, had referred to the farmer’s agitation in his address made at the start of the Budget Session of Parliament last week.

The Opposition parties slammed the Government over their refusal to have a discussion on farm laws and the plight of protesting farmers. After the House was adjourned, Opposition leaders defended their actions and said that the session was meaningless if the issue of farmers could not be taken up.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi attacked the Centre for completely barricading and placing wire mesh near farmers’ protest sites. “Build bridges, not walls,” Rahul tweeted while his party and other Opposition mounted more pressure on the Modi Government to repeal the controversial farm laws. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also slammed the Government over the issue.

The situation has deteriorated further with farmers calling for a countrywide “chakka jam” protest on Saturday.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that ruckus was inevitable if farmers’ concerns were not taken up, while Congress MP Abhishek Manu Singhvi accused the Government of being arrogant and said that they should not have a problem in having a discussion.

Keen to ensure orderly functioning the first day of the House after Presidential address and Budget presentation, Naidu asked MPs to follow rules, maintain discipline and dignity while discussing issues of national and public importance in the House.

Earlier, demanding a discussion on the agitation, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said the House could not discuss the farmers’ Bills when it was before this House and everybody wants a discussion as it is a matter of national importance.

T Shiva (DMK), who had also given notice for suspension of business, said for more than two months, in the bitter cold, women and children have been sitting in protest and hundreds of farmers have died.

Manoj Jha (RJD) and Binoy Viswam (CPI) also demanded a discussion while BSP’s Satish Mishra said this was an issue that every parliamentarian wants to discuss so that a solution can be found.

Making a veiled reference to the ugly scenes witnessed in the House during the passage of farm Bills in the last session, the Rajya Sabha chairman asked members to make the current Budget Session “more purposeful” where issues are discussed threadbare in “a peaceful, orderly and dignified manner.”

“Last time some unfortunate incidents happened,” he said without going into the details.

Naidu had an obvious reference to Monsoon Session September last year, when Opposition MPs tore the rule book, climbed on the podium and created a ruckus during the passage of three farm sector reform Bills.

“I have all along been appealing to members to prevent any such situation which will affect the interest of Parliament and also the nation,” he said.

On the first full-day functioning of the House in the current Budget Session which started on Friday, Naidu said the nation has completed 100 years of representative democracy.

The first direct elections to the imperial and provincial legislative councils were held during the winter of 1920.

Wednesday, 03 February 2021 | PNS | New Delhi

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