'Sad, shameful': Rajnath Singh slams Opposition for ruckus in RS over farmers bills, reassures cultivators on MSP

Rajnath, at a press conference called in Delhi along with Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, Pralhad Joshi, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Thawarchand Gehlot, said while it is the responsibility of the ruling side to enable discussions in the House, it is also Opposition's duty to maintaining decorum.

FP Staff September 20, 2020 21:26:24 IST
'Sad, shameful': Rajnath Singh slams Opposition for ruckus in RS over farmers bills, reassures cultivators on MSP

File image of Rajnath Singh. News18

Hours after the Opposition created a massive ruckus in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday over the passage of two farmer bills, defence minister Rajnath Singh called the events that unfolded in the country's Upper House 'sad, unfortunate and shameful'.

Rajnath, at a press conference called in Delhi along with Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, Pralhad Joshi, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Thawarchand Gehlot, said while it is the responsibility of the ruling side to enable discussions in the House, it is also Opposition's duty to maintaining decorum.

"As far as I know, this has never happened in the history of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. This happening in Rajya Sabha is an even bigger matter," Rajnath said. "What happened is against the decorum of the House."

The Upper House witnessed tumultuous scenes earlier Sunday after Opposition members, including those from the TMC, Congress and the Left, climbed the chairman's podium, tore official papers and raised slogans after Deputy Chairman  Harivansh did not consider their demand for a division of votes on a resolution to send the two bills to a select committee.

The Rajya Sabha, after a brief adjournment, then passed the two bills —  Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 — by voice vote.

The first bill seeks to provide freedom to farmers to sell their produce anywhere in the country. The second bill is aimed at setting up of a framework under which farmers will be able to engage with agri-business firms, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services.

The bills will now go to President Ram Nath Kovind for his assent before they are notified as laws.

'I am also a farmer'

Rajnath also sought to reassure farmers over the Minimum Support Price and Agricultural Produce Market Committee.

Rajnath said, "I am also a farmer. I want to assure farmers that Minimum Support Price and Agricultural Produce Market Committee will continue. These will never be removed at any cost."

Earlier in the day, cultivators in in Haryana blocked roads and neighbouring Punjab saw farmers burn effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In Haryana, farmers occupied portions of roads and highways at several places in the state between 12 and 3 pm, following a call given by the state unit of the Bhartiya Kisan Union against the agri-marketing bills.

After 3 pm, reports said the road blockades were lifted, ending the day’s protests in which BKU was also supported by several other farmer organisations. In Ambala, Haryana Police used a water cannon at the state’s border to stop Punjab Youth Congress workers from entering the district and travelling ahead to Delhi as part of their “tractor rally”.

The Punjab protesters set fire to one of their own tractors when they were forced to end their rally at the Haryana border, police said. Farmers were joined by ''arhitiyas'', or the commission agents at ‘mandi's, during their protests at many places in Haryana.

Rajnath took to Twitter on Sunday morning to to hail the passage of the bills as a "landmark day".

'Don't want to say anything'

After twelve Opposition parties on Sunday gave Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu a no-confidence motion against Harivansh over the manner in which the two farm bills were passed, the defence minister hailed the JD(U) leader as a man of values.

Rajnath said the "misconduct" of Opposition members towards Harivansh was unprecedented. "Even if Opposition leaders were not convinced with the chair's decision, does it allow them to attack him and be violent?" Rajnath asked.

The parties that have submitted the notice include the Congress, All India Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, CPI, CPM, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, National Conference, DMK and the Aam Aadmi Party.

Rajnath, pressed further by the media, said, "Notice has been given to the chairman. A decision will be taken by him. I don't want to say anything politically. This is the prerogative of the chairman."

Congress leader Ahmed Patel called the manner in which the bills were passed a “murder” of democracy. Patel said the deputy chairman should have “safeguarded democratic traditions but harmed them instead”.

'Political reasons behind decisions'

Asked about the decision of BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal to quit the Modi government in protest against the farm bills, Rajnath said there are some "political reasons" behind certain decisions.

Rajnath's comments come hours after  SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal urged the president not to sign the farm bills and also requested him that they be returned to Parliament for reconsideration. The Shiromani Akali Dal chief said the passage of the bills marks a “sad day” for the “country's millions and for democracy”.

“Democracy is not majority oppression but about consultation, conciliation and consensus,” Badal said in a statement. “All three democratic virtues were ignored in today's proceedings. This distortion can only be corrected with a presidential intervention,” said Badal.

SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest against the bills.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date:

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