Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 3
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday demanded that the government withdraw the three contentious farm laws over which the farmers have been agitating for the past over two months and urged it not to make it a prestige issue.
The government and opposition reached an agreement over a discussion on farm laws and arrived at a consensus to discuss the issues relating to farmers’ protest for 15 hours as part of the Motion of Thanks to the President’s speech to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.
Azad led the opposition benches to highlight the plights of farmers in the country.
While demanding the repeal of the three farm laws, Azad said there could be nothing greater than if Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present in Rajya Sabha at that time, himself announced the decision of the government on the floor of the House.
The Congress leader also asked the Prime Minister to form a committee to look for “people who went missing after Republic Day violence”. He went on to say: “We condemn what happened on January 26, particularly at the Red Fort. But please ensure innocent farmers’ leaders are not implicated or it will lead to another agitation.”
Azad also highlighted the sedition cases being registered against Congress MP Shahi Tharoor and senior journalists of the country. He said, “Tharoor is a former external affairs Minister and how can he be anti-national. Journalists are integral to democracy and by implicating them we would be weakening our democracy.”
The Leader of Opposition said he and his party always stand with the government on issues relating to China and Pakistan. “The entire country stands with PM Modi on China but farmers are not our enemies. Request that the farm laws be withdrawn,” he said while invoking several of the past farmers’ protests including those during the British era where the then government had to concede to the demands. They included indigo movement and Kheda Satyagraha, which were led by Mahatma Gandhi
Azad also recalled a farmers’ agitation in Delhi’s Boat Club by Rakesh Tikait’s father Mahendra Singh Tikait in 1988 and how the then ruling Congress party changed its rally venue in favour of them.
Rajya Sabha on Wednesday agreed to allocate 15 hours to discuss the ongoing farmers’ protest over the three contentious farm laws.
Question Hour will be suspended from Thursday and beginning Friday, Zero Hour and Question Hour will be suspended to extend the time allotted for discussion on Motion of Thanks on President’s address.
The extended time of five hours will be used for a discussion on farmers’ issues.
The House was adjourned breifly due to disruptions caused by AAP Members Sanjay Singh, Sushil Gupta and ND Gupta just when Chairman Venkaiah Naidu allowed discussion on Motion of Thanks on President’s address after the Zero Hour.
Naidu named the three Members under Rule 255 of the House which entails them to withdraw from the House. However, they did not relent and continued sloganeering demanding withdrawal of the farm laws.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Gulam Nabi Azad asks govt to repeal farm laws
- He also talked about an incident of 1988 where Congress party changed its rally venue in favour of the farmers.
- He condemned the violence on January 26 and incidents at Red Fort. He asked the government not to implicate innocent people.
- Azad demanded that sedition charges against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and senior journalists be withdrawn.
- He also demanded the withdrawal of the three contentious farm laws
- Azad invokes ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ slogan once given by former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri to prepare grounds to attack the government on the three farm bills
- He paid homage to farmers who died in past two months during agitation
- He talked about how farmers forced even the British-era government to yield to their demands
- Azad talks about Sardar Ajit Singhji, who led the farmers’ agitation 1752, the Champaran Satyagraha of 1917 and Bardoli agitation
- Talking about Jammu & Kashmir, he said, I would have accepted if Ladakh was made a UT and J&K was left as it is.
- He asserted that law, order and development were better when J&K was a state.
- Militancy was also low during that period: Azad
- ‘Tourism is almost finished, education of children has suffered the most’: Azad
- He commended government for conducting DDC elections
- Demanded restoration of statehood in J&K and assembly elections be held at the earliest.
BJP’s Bhubaneswar Kalita hails farm laws:
Kalita first highlighted:
1) Integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India in “real earnest”
2) Social welfare benefits implemented in the UT, which had been hitherto denied to the local people
3) Elections to District Development Council in J-K.
- Kalita hails the three farm laws, which he said were passed following a discussion in Rajya Sabha. He said benefits of the farm laws have started reaching farmers.
- “Do not make it another Shaheen Bagh,” Kalita said, adressing Congress and other opposition parties, whom, he said, were creating a disturbance in the House for the past two days.
- He said the Union government did an “excellent job” in curbing the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and providing help to migrant labourers, through timely interventions such as the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
- Lauds ‘Vande Bharat’ exercise and the world’s “biggest” vaccination drive against coronavirus, which he said has been lauded by the world community.
- Anti-Corona Vaccination was being supplied to neighbouring countries and others, free of cost: Kalita
Rajya Sabha takes up the discussion of Motion of Thanks on President’s address.