New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Sunday passed two out of three contentious agriculture-related bills even as opposition members created a ruckus in the House. The bills that were passed in Parliament are The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020. Amid the passage, opposition MPs continued to shout slogan, with some lawmakers even staging a walkout in protest. The bills, cleared by the Rajya Sabha, will become law with the assent of the President of India. Also Read - Farmer Outfits in Punjab to Intensify Stir Against New Farm Laws, Declare State-wide Protests on October 17
Ruckus in Parliament Also Read - PM Narendra Modi Gets Slightly Richer, HM Amit Shah Poorer As Per Assets Declaration
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien along with other opposition members on Sunday entered the well and tried to tear up the House rule book in front of RS Deputy Chairman Harivansh during the debate on agriculture ordinances. Also Read - Farmers Walk Out of Centre's Meeting Over Minister's Absence, Tear Off Copies of Farm Laws
TMC and other members of the Opposition climbed the Chairman’s podium and raised slogans after their demand for voting on the motion to send farm bills to select panel not considered.
No-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Chairman
Twelve Opposition parties gave a notice for a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh over the manner in which two farm Bills were passed in the Upper House after he overruled their pleas for an adjournment of the proceedings.
The BJP is also considering moving a motion for stringent action against several opposition MPs, who are accused of unruly behaviour in the House during the passage of two farm bills.
Sources said the Rajya Sabha TV footage was also being viewed to ascertain what transpired during the passage of the bills and which MPs indulged in violence.
Rajnath Singh and other union ministers address presser
Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javadekar, Pralhad Joshi, Piyush Goyal, Thawarchand Gehlot and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi held a press conference to hit out at opposition members, with Singh asserting that such conduct was not expected in a healthy democracy.
The top brass of the central government flayed the opposition over its members’ “unruly conduct” in Rajya Sabha during the passage of the two farm bills, condemning their behaviour as “extremely shameful” and unprecedented in Parliament’s history.
Singh also reassured the farmers on the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC). “I am also a farmer and I want to assure farmers of the country that MSP (minimum support price) & APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) systems are not going to end,” Rajnath Singh said.
Minutes Later Congress addresses media
Responding to the ministers’ press briefing led by Rajnath Singh, the Congress called the behaviour of the government as a “black day” in India’s democratic history.
Addressing the press conference, Congress leaders K.C. Venugopal ,Randeep Surjewala ,Shaktisinh Gohil, Rajeev Satav, and Partap Singh Bajwa said that the fight for the farmers will go on till its logical end.
Venugopal said “The manner in which the government pushed through the grossly anti-farmer Bills was totally against any and every procedure and tradition laid out in the rulebook.”
“They (BJP Ministers) are justifying the Deputy Chairman, and the procedure. It means today’s entire episode was a conspiracy, built by BJP leadership. They want to suppress the voice of farmers in the House,” Venugopal added.
The Congress leaders alleged that “high-handedness” and utter disregard for democratic tradition and norms seems to have become the new normal even in Parliament.
PM Modi hails passage of bills
Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed it as a “watershed moment” in the history of Indian agriculture, asserting that the bills will ensure a complete transformation of the farm sector and add impetus to the efforts to double the income of farmers.
Farmers in states like Punjab and Haryana have been protesting against these bills, with their leaders alleging that the legislations will dismantle the existing system and leave them to the mercy of corporate interests.
As the Bills were taken up, the Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Haryana unit, supported by some other farmer outfits, held a statewide protest on Sunday during which they blocked roads for three hours.
The Punjab Youth Congress also took out a ‘tractor rally’ from Punjab to Delhi against the Centre’s farm-related measures.
Farmer Unions in Punjab and Haryana have also called for a total shutdown on 25 September.
SAD President Sukhbir Singh urges President not to sign farm Bills
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday urged President Ram Nath Kovind not to sign the farm Bills. He requested him that the Bills be returned to Parliament for reconsideration.
“Please stand by the farmers, ‘kisan mazdoors’, ‘aarhtiyas’ (agents), labourers and Dalits,” Badal said in a statement. “Please intervene on their behalf with the government, otherwise they will never forgive us,” he said.
The party’s lone minister in the Narendra Modi government, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, resigned from the Union Cabinet on September 17 to protest the farm bills.