Both Houses of Parliament were on Thursday adjourned multiple times as the Opposition parties continued to protest against the farm laws and the Centre’s handling of the farmers’ agitation, reported The Indian Express.
In the Rajya Sabha, Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh hit out at the Centre, alleging that farmers were being lathi-charged, called traitors, terrorists and Khalistanis. “Talks happened 11 times, all failed,” he said in the Rajya Sabha. “The government claims to be a call away, but doesn’t bother.” Singh pointed to the death of 165 farmers in the protest and appealed to the central government to “have mercy and repeal the three black laws”.
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda called the farmers the backbone of the country and said that some anti-social elements caused the violence on Republic Day. He said these miscreants need to be punished for their acts.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Kumar Jha said the government has lost the patience to hear. “With folded hands, I request you to please understand the pain of farmers,” Jha said. “In harsh winter you stopped water supply and toilet facilities, dug trenches, put barbed wires, and installed spikes. Such aggressive approach wasn’t even heard of towards the neighbouring nations who came inside [the Indian territory].”
Jha also pointed out that protesting farmers and critics have been called “Khalistanis”, “Naxals” and “Pakistani agents” and the citizens of the country are pitted against each other just like during the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
He also contested the government’s statement that 11 rounds of dialogue having concluded with agitating farmers. “They talk of having given this and that to farmers but there is no place for language of charity in a democracy,” he said. “The monologues should be ended.”
Congress leader Digvijaya Singh called the agriculture reforms “anti-farmer”. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lost the trust of the farmers. Even the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, a farmers’ organisation politically linked to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has opposed the Centre’s moves, he claimed. Singh also took a dig at Modi, asking if he wants to keep a relationship with the RSS.
Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien claimed that the Centre has “failed to uphold Parliament’s sanctity because of its arrogance”. He accused the government of failing the country at many levels.
In the Lok Sabha, Opposition leaders shouted slogans against the government and the farm laws as the House assembled at 4 pm. As the sloganeering continued to disrupt the House, Speaker Om Birla asked the protesting MPs to get back to their seats.
“Question Hour is the right of MPs,” he said. “[But] This behaviour is not good and I again request you all to return to your seats so that the House proceedings run properly.” As the MPs refused to hear, Birla adjourned the House till 5 pm.
Sloganeering and raising placards continued when the House reassembled. Some members laid down papers on the table of the House as Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill, 2021. Meenakshi Lekhi, who was in the Chair, asked them to return to their seats, but they continued with their protests. She then adjourned the House till 6 pm after about 15 minutes of proceedings.
The protest continued when the House again reassembled. “You have every right to raise any issue that you would like to,” said Rajendra Agrawal, who was in the Chair. “Please exercise this right. Please go to your seats, please don’t show the placards. You can raise your issues through the discussion on the motion thanking the President for his address.”
After the Opposition leaders ignored his appeals, the Lok Sabha was again adjourned twice more.
Tens of thousands of farmers have been camping out on the outskirts of Delhi for over two months, demanding the repeal of the three agricultural laws passed in September. Multiple rounds of talks between farm union leaders and the central government took place, but all of them failed to end the impasse.