New Delhi: After the controversy over the way in which two farm Bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house on Monday suspended eight opposition members for the remainder of the session.
Minister of state for parliamentary affairs V. Muraleedharan moved a motion for the suspension of Derek O’Brien (TMC), Sanjay Singh (AAP), Rajeev Satav, Syed Naseer Hussain, Ripun Bora (Congress), K.K. Ragesh, Elamaram Kareem (CPI(M)) and Dola Sen (AITC).
Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu also rejected the no-confidence motion moved by 12 opposition parties against his deputy Harivansh, saying a notice period of 14 days is required.
The suspended members were asked to leave the house, but when they refused to do so, the session was adjourned until 10 am and then for a further hour. After the house reconvened at 10:30 am, deputy chairman Harivansh said he will ask the leader of the opposition to speak before any Bills are discussed, but said that those who have been named by the chairman cannot participate. When the opposition members objected to the proposal, the house was adjourned for another 30 minutes.
The house reconvened at 12 pm, but as the opposition continued to protest, vice chairman Bhubaneswar Kalita adjourned the session until 9 am on Tuesday.
Protest over farm Bills
On Sunday, several opposition MPs protested against the way in which two of the farm Bills were passed. The ruling party accused the MPs of creating a ‘ruckus’ and said on Sunday that it would seek strong action against their ‘unruly’ behaviour.
Members were accused of throwing papers at Harivansh, who was presiding the house during the passage of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill.
Opposition members were seen standing on officials’ tables and even broke the mike in front of the chair as they alleged that their demand for a division of votes on their motion to refer the legislation to a select committee was overruled.
The Bills were passed through voice votes amid the din caused by opposition protests. The opposition has objected to the deputy chairman not calling for a division despite an objection raised by them against the voice vote.
Naidu rejected a motion submitted by 12 opposition parties for a no-confidence motion against deputy chairman Harivansh over the manner in which the Bills were passed in the house after he overruled their pleas for an adjournment of the proceedings.
“The notice period of 14 days is required. I rule that the motion by LoP [leader of the opposition] and other members is not admissible,” Naidu said.
The parties that have submitted the notice against the deputy chairman include the Congress, All India Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, CPI, CPI(M), Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, National Conference, DMK and the Aam Aadmi Party.
Opposition reacts strongly
The Congress on Monday reacted sharply to the suspension of the eight MPs, including three of its own, with Rahul Gandhi saying the “muting of democratic India continues” by initially silencing and later suspending the parliamentarians.
“‘Muting Of Democratic India’ continues: by initially silencing and later, suspending MPs in the Parliament & turning a blind eye to farmers’ concerns on the black agriculture laws,” Gandhi said in a tweet.
“This omniscient’ Govt’s endless arrogance has brought economic disaster for the entire country,” the former Congress chief said.
Reacting to the development, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked whether or not there is any parliamentary system in the country.
“Is it a sin to raise the voice of the farmer in Parliament? Have dictators held Parliament hostage?” Surjewala said in a tweet.
Opposition members have also said that they plan to hold an all-night dharna at Parliament House to protest against the suspension of the MPs.
(With PTI inputs)