Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Monday (September 21) suspended eight opposition MPs over their “unruly behaviour” in the House, saying he was “deeply pained” over the House ruckus the previous day.
The suspended members include Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh, Congress’ Rajeev Satav and CPI-M’s KK Ragesh.
Naidu also rejected the Opposition’s no-confidence motion against Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh following Sunday’s uproar over farm bills which the House passed with voice vote.
He said the members threw papers, wrenched mics away and “physically threatened” Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh.
Sanjay Singh and Congress member Rajiv Satav were seen climbing onto the Secretary General’s table at the centre of the House. Derek O’Brien waved a rulebook before the Chairperson and some members pulled out mics at their seats. A few members also tore up copies of the Bills.
The two farm bills, which were cleared by the Lok Sabha, will now go to the President for his formal approval before becoming laws.
The Opposition, which lacked the numbers to block the legislation, wanted the farm bills to be sent to a select committee for a review. They had also demanded the discussion to be extended. Harivansh Singh, who was in the chair, allowed Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar to continue his reply before voting on the bills.
The row in the Upper House intensified after the Opposition demanded physical voting, but Harivansh Singh refused. Opposition members ran towards the chairman and attempted to tear up the rule book. They also tried to snatch the Deputy Chairman’s mic. A voice vote took place amid slogan-shouting by MPs.
The Opposition members then sat in protest within the House, preventing the start of the Lok Sabha shift. Nearly 50 members moved a no-trust motion against Harivansh Singh.
“This does not end here,” said an angry Derek O’Brien, terming the way the government carried through the bills a “murder of democracy”.
“They broke every rule in Parliament. It was a historic day. They cut RSTV feed so the country couldn’t see. They censored RSTV. We have evidence,” O’Brien tweeted.
During the discussion on the bills, the government said the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce Bill and the Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill will bring major reforms in the agricultural sector.
After the bills’ passage, Prime Minister Modi tweeted: “For decades, the Indian farmer was bound by various constraints and bullied by middlemen. The bills passed by Parliament liberate the farmers from such adversities. These bills will add impetus to the efforts to double income of farmers and ensure greater prosperity for them.”
Another tweet from him read: “I said it earlier and I say it once again: The System of MSP (Minimum Support Price) will remain. Government procurement will continue. We are here to serve our farmers. We will do everything possible to support them and ensure a better life for their coming generations”.
The opposition has alleged that the proposed laws will give power in the hands of corporates and farmers will be deprived of a fair price for their produce.