Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 2
The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday was adjourned for the third time amidst the ruckus created by the Opposition parties over Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu turning down Opposition’s notices to discuss the issue of farm laws.
The House has now been adjourned till 9 am tomorrow.
Naidu turned down notices for suspension of the business of the House by the Opposition parties’ leaders to discuss farm laws, saying the issue could be taken up during a discussion on ‘Motion of Thanks’ on President’s address, which will commence from tomorrow.
“The President,” Naidu said, “had referred to the farmer’s agitation in his address made at the start of the Budget session of Parliament last week.”
The House was first adjourned for about 40 minutes till 10:30. As soon as the House met again, similar scenes were witnessed leading to another adjournment till 11:30 am.
The Congress, the Left, the TMC, the DMK and the RJD members first walked out from Rajya Sabha after their demand for suspension of business of the day for taking up the discussion was rejected by the Chair.
Opposition members shouted slogans to disrupt the Question Hour, forcing Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to adjourn the proceedings till 10:30 am.
As the protesting members continued sloganeering, Naidu asked them to return to their seats.
“Please go to your seats and allow the House to function. Some of you said the last time that not having question hour is ‘murder of democracy’. This is a statement made outside,” he said.
“Members who have walked out and again coming to the Well is not fair,” Naidu said before adjourning the House for the first time.
The Opposition parties had given notice under rule 267 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.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, SS Roy of the TMC, Elaraam Kareem of the CPI(M), Binoy Viswam of the CPI, Manoj Jha of the RJD,Asokh Sidhartha of the BSP and Tiruchi Siva of the DMK had given the notices to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Not satisfied with Naidu’s move to turn down the notices, the Opposition leaders staged a walkout in protest, after pressing for discussion on ground that the farmer issue was of national importance.
Opposition leaders later returned to the House and raised slogans in protest, disrupting the proceedings of the House while the Question Hour was in progress.
The House has been adjourned till 11:30 amdist the ruckus by the Opposition leaders.
During the proceedings of the House, Naidu, rejecting the 267 notice, said: “As we are going to start a discussion on Motion of Thanks to President’s Address tomorrow, members can participate and raise their concerns.”
He said several rounds of discussions have happened between the government and the farmers’ group.
“I understand the concern (of members) for the need to resolve the issue at the earliest date,” he said.
Naidu, however, allowed members who gave notices to make very brief mentions.
Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the farmers had been camping for more than two months and the issue needed to be discussed.
Roy said the discussion in the House was important as the Members did not know about the discussions between the government and the protesting farmers, and the House should discuss the issue separately from the Motion of Thanks.
“It was an issue of national importance. We want a discussion on a specific issue,” he said.
While CPI leader Elamaram Kareem said water and electricity supply to the protest sites had been cut, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva said farmers had been sitting on roads for over two months in the bitter cold and the issue needs to be discussed separately.
Manoj Jha (RJD) said Parliament should at least discuss the issue.
However, Naidu did not agree to their motion after which the members of the Congress, the Left, the TMC, the DMK and the RJD staged a walkout.
Naidu corrected the Members, saying it was wrong to say that no discussions had been held on the farm bills in the House before its passage. He said it was discussed for four hours.
“As far as the mode of voting on them was concerned, there may be difference of opinion on it,” Naidu said.
“No one is stopping you from discussing the issue tomorrow. Tomorrow, you will get an opportunity,” he said.
Naidu said 10 hours had been allocated for discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address and an equivalent amount given for discussion on the Budget.
“Please take the opportunity tomorrow,” he said.
Some of them also entered the Well of the House.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi intervened to say that the opposition Benches were only interested in disrupting the functioning of the proceedings.
“They had asked for Question Hour but they do not want it to happen now,” Joshi said.
During the proceedings of the House, Naidu also appreciated the performance of the Indian cricket team down under in Australia, where it won the four-match Test series. He said the victory by the inexperienced team represented “never say die” spirit of young India. — With PTI