Lok Sabha proceedings were on Monday extended till midnight to accommodate MPs participating in Motion of Thanks.
Earlier in the day, Congress Lok Sabha MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged that the violence that took place on January 26 was a government conspiracy. He also criticised the clampdown on the farmers’ protest sites near Delhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while speaking in Rajya Sabha, said citizens should be wary of the advent of “Foreign Destructive Ideology” in the country, asserting that India is “the mother of democracy”. The prime minister’s remarks came amid widespread international criticism for his handling of the farmer protests.
In an hour-long speech, Modi urged the farmers to end their agitation, assuring them that the government will not dismantle the minimum support price regime. He also took on the Opposition and accused it of being hypocritical about its stand on agriculture reforms .
Discussions on the new farm laws are likely to continue in Parliament through the day. Both the Houses were adjourned early on Friday after fiery debates between the Centre and the Opposition on the contentious legislations.
Here are the day’s updates:
10.57 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader AM Arif asks if the Centre will send an all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir, The Hindu reports. Arif also brings up the farmers’ protests and the Centre’s handling of it.
10.25 pm: BJP leader Jagdambika Pal says the Modi government has done more than developed Western nations in tackling with coronavirus, reports The Hindu. “WHO and IMF has lauded the Modi government for steps taken to deal with the pandemic,” the politician says. “Even the US said India is a true friend. Bill and Melinda Gates foundation congratulated India for its efforts to distribute vaccine too.”
10 pm: Nationalist Congress Party’s Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil speaks in the Lok Sabha. “Farmers are protesting for days on end, they don’t have access to proper resources and are unable to sell their produce at a reasonable price,” he says, according to The Hindu. “Poor children have been provided with mobile and tabs by Maharashtra government.”
9.49 pm: Bahujan Samaj Party’s Ritesh Pandey raises journalist Arnab Goswami’s purported WhatsApp chats matter and extends his concern over national security, reports The Hindu. Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey challenges Pandey on the authenticity of the WhatsApp chats. BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi, who is in the Chair, says the authenticity of the chats will be examined.
9.40 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi to respond to the Lok Sabha discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President on Wednesday around 4 pm, reports The Hindu.
9.32 pm: Lok Sabha proceedings extended till midnight to accommodate MPs participating in Motion of Thanks, reports PTI.
9.18 pm: Shiv Sena MP Pratap Rao Jadhav says farmers are the soul of the country and asks the government to reconsider the farm laws, reports The Hindu. Jadhav claims that it is a false propaganda that the national flag was insulted during the tractor rally violence on Republic Day.
“Many of our soldiers defending our borders are the sons of the farmers,” he adds. “If Khalistanis have joined this agitation, then it is an insult to the government.”
9.15 pm: Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party MP PV Midhun Reddy asks for special status for Andhra Pradesh, reports The Hindu. He also requests for the Centre’s help to put more solar power parks in place.
9.09 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra says the Citizenship Amendment Act threw millions of Indians, who had been living in India for generations, into insecurity, reports ANI. “But the rules by which this act will be implemented were not yet prepared by December 2020, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs,” she says.
Moitra says that the deadline for the formulation of the rules for the implementation the act has been extended till April 2021. “If indeed this government cared so much for those persecuted in the neighbouring countries, why does it miss the deadline to notify these rules?” she asks.
7.36 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP TR Baalu says the government should repeal farm laws, reports The Hindu.
7.31 pm: Chowdhury claims that the Bharatiya Janata Party misled celebrities such as Sachin Tendular and Lata Mangeshkar for futhering their propaganda against the farm law protests. “When you couldn’t break the agitation [farmers’ protest] by force, you conspired to break it,” says Chowdhury.
He asks if our country is so so weak that a 18-year-old girl (Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg) has become a threat.
7.28 pm: Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury says journalist Arnab Goswami’s purported WhatsApp chats reveal threat on national security, reports The Hindu.
“How did Arnab Goswami know?” he asks. “...Defence Minister, tell us what is happening in Ladakh? In Arunachal Pradesh? In Sikkim? 1000 sq kms have been taken over. When you say we want status quo? What does it mean? It means status quo doesn’t exist!”
7.17 pm: Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleges that the violence that took place on January 26 was a conspiracy by the government, reports The Hindu. “This was a well organised conspiracy by the government,” he alleges. “If the government is not involved in January 26 [violence], then set up a Joint Parliamentary Committee. When the route of the tractor was prepared by you, how can you not take responsibility?”
7.07 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Virendra Kumar says Prime Minister Narendra Modi handled the coronavirus crisis in an able manner and also helped other countries, reports The Hindu. He also praises various civil society organisations and ordinary citizens in helping people out during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. “The standing committee on Home, which is not headed by an BJP MP, has also appreciated the government’s handling of Covid-19,” he adds.
7.04 pm: Chowdhury also takes a dig at President Ram Nath Kovind over his speech, alleging that he is pandering to the states where elections are to be held.
“The President had delivered a 27 page speech,” he says. “It used quotes from Assam’s Ambika Rai Chowdhury, Kerala’s Vallathur and Bengal’s Jatindra Nath Tagore. Don’t know if it’s a coincidence that all these States are headed for election,”
6.58 pm: Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claims that the Bharatiya Janata Party is using freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose’s name to garner votes in the upcoming West Bengal elections, reports The Hindu.
“BJP has no nationalists of your own,” he says. “Why don’t you ever take the name of Jawaharlal Nehru? Why are you so petty? Have you ever taken the name of Indira Gandhi. You are talking about Netaji [Subhash Chandra Bose]. Good but try to imbibe his values.”
Chowdhury complains that the BJP replaced a dock named after Bose with Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, adding that the saffron party also discarded the Planning Commission conceived by the freedom fighter.
“Amit Shah goes to Shantiniketan and claims [Rabindra Nath] Tagore was born there,” the Congress MP adds. “At least, do your studies. He goes and sits on chair used by Tagore. That’s showing disrespect.”
5.55 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Locket Chatterjee says the Opposition stays silent when crimes against women take place in West Bengal, The Hindu reports. She adds that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has protected the dignity of women creating jobs for them. “He has protected the dignity of minority women by passing the Triple Talaq Act,” she adds.
Chatterjee hits out West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and says that some parts of the state are still “mini-Pakistan”.
5.46 pm: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh appeals to MPs not to let parliamentary traditions break down, ANI reports. “Our democracy is lively and healthy and everyone above party lines wants to keep it the same,” he says. “It’s our responsibility to keep dignity of every institution. I appeal to everyone to hold discussions on Presidential address and not let traditions break down.”
5.38 pm: Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticises the clampdown on the farmers’ protest sites, ANI reports. “We can’t remain silent when lakhs of farmers are sitting on borders of Delhi,” he says. “Over 206 farmers have lost their lives & nails have been fixed to stop them from entering Delhi. Our demand was just to hold discussion on farmers issue after President’s address.”
4.41 pm: The Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 5 pm.
4.41 pm: Birla urges members of the House to take their seats, and says that the Question Hour is important as the Opposition “can question the government”.
4.37 pm: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla says politicians are elected not to shout slogans or show banners, reports The Hindu. “We have been elected to take part in discussions,” he says.
4 pm: Question Hour proceedings go on in the Lok Sabha, reports The Hindu.
3.32 pm: G Kishan Reddy lists the government’s development initiatives for Jammu and Kashmir. “In last two years, speedy development has happened in J&K,” he says, according to The Hindu. “Revolutionary, historical decisions have been taken for development of the area. Foremost is the municipal polls in rural and urban bodies. Post independence for the first time Block Development Council elections were held.”
Responding to Peoples Democratic Party MP Mohammad Mir Fayaz’s remark that the people of Kashmir still don’t have a train, Reddy says: “Train will chug into Kashmir by 2022. Elevated Light Rail System will be completed in four years, he adds.”
Reddy claims that the people of Jammu and Kashmir want development and are not asking for the restoration of special status under Article 370. “This is why Pakistan is getting restless,” he adds. “In 2019, over 2,000 incidents of stone pelting [were reported]. In 2020 only 327 such incidents. J&K is moving ahead in the right direction.”
3.26 pm: Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy tells the Parliament that 127 people were injured in ceasefire violations by Pakistan in 2019 and 71 in 2020, ANI reports. He adds that there were 216 infiltration attempts in 2019 and 99 in 2020.
Reddy also gives details about the number of militants killed by security forces. “157 terrorists were neutralized in 2019 and 221 were eliminated in 2020,” he says. “There were 594 cases of terrorist violence in 2019, that reduced to 244 in 2020. There were 327 stone pelting incidents in 2020 as compared to 2,009 such incidents in 2019”
2.01 pm: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge hits out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying there was “no substance” in his speech. “He overlooked Congress’ proposal on what lacks in the three farm laws and rejected concerns of farmers, graduates and scientists, saying nobody knows anything,” he adds. “Are we all fools?”
1.55 pm: The Rajya Sabha has been adjourned till tomorrow.
1.54 pm: The Rajya Sabha passes the Jammu and Kashmir reorganisation (Amendment) Bill 2021, reports ANI.
1.49 pm: Congress MP Hibi Eden gives adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha and demands to give special packages to the tourism sectors, which suffered losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
1.48 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy gives an adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha over “alleged repression of farmers by police through barricading and fencing”.
1.47 pm: Congress MPs Manish Tewari, Jasbir Gill and Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP AM Arif give adjournment motion notice in the Lok Sabha and demand the repeal of three farm laws, reports ANI.
1.45 pm: Union minister Kishan Reddy says the government has taken “historical decisions” for the development of Jammu and Kashmir, reports The Hindu. “Foremost is the municipal polls in rural and urban bodies,” he adds. “Post independence for the first time Block Development Council elections were held. We have given Rs 1,000 crore under MNREGA for developmental work.”
1.39 pm: Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairperson M Venkaiah Naidu expresses sadness in the House after his non-partisan approach was questioned by an MP, reports PTI.
When the Rajya Sabha met for the day, Vijai Sai Reddy of the YSR Congress sought to raise certain remarks made by a Telugu Desam Party member a few days ago and demanded action.
Without naming anyone or pointing to the remarks, Reddy raised the issue through a point of order, saying objectionable parts should be expunged from the records. Reddy, however, was not satisfied and continued to speak despite his microphone being turned off. During this time, Reddy cast aspersions on the Chair.
11.42 am: Modi claims that certain people are feeding wrong thoughts to Sikhs, as he refers to the farmers protesting against the new laws, many of whom are from Punjab. “This country is proud of the Sikhs, what have they not done for this country?” the prime minister adds. “There are some people who make a living out of protests. You can find them in every protest site.”
11.39 am: “There is another FDI coming to the country,” Modi adds. “This has to be discouraged. It is called Foreign Destructive Ideology.”
11.35 am: Modi coins a new meaning of FDI – “Foreign Destructive Ideology” – as he possibly alludes to the international criticism he has received over his handling of the farmer protests.
11.34 am: Modi compares the protest against the new farms laws to the Green Revolution. “Thousand protests were organised then, but [former Prime Minister] Lal Bahadur Shastri moved forward and today we have surplus production,” he adds.
11.31 am: The prime minister asserts that under the new farm laws, affordable ration for the poor will continue and mandis will be modernised. “Therefore, I request the Opposition to not misguide the farmers,” Modi adds.
11.29 am: Modi offers farmer leader to hold talks with the government. “Agriculture minister is talking to farmers,” he adds. “Protesting is your right but want to request that old farmers are sitting, ask them to go home.”
11.27 am: The prime minister says there is no question of dismantling the minimum support price regime. “MSP was, MSP is, and MSP will remain in place,” he adds.
11.22 am: “The funny part is people who do politics, they have also implemented the laws in some form or the other, Modi adds, alluding to the Opposition. “They have not questioned the spirit of law.”
11.18 am: Modi quotes former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “It is our intention to remove all those handicaps which come in the way of India realising its large potential,” Modi says. “You should be proud that Modi is implementing Manmohan Singh’s dream.”
11.13 am: Even the Opposition supports the reforms brought about by the government, Modi says. “[Nationalist Congress Party chief] Sharad Pawar has spoken in favour of reforms,” the prime minister adds. “Even the Congress has supported the idea of bringing reforms...but suddenly the Opposition has taken a U-turn.”
11.12 am: The prime minister adds that since 2014, his government has initiated changes in the agriculture sector that are aimed at empowering the farmer. “The crop insurance scheme was changed to make it more farmer friendly,” Modi adds. “The PM-KISAN scheme was also brought in. We are working for the small farmers.”
11.08 am: Modi quotes former Prime Minister Chaudhary Charan Singh on small farmers, reports The Hindu. “Today, 68% of farmers are small and marginal farmers,” he says. “Over 12 crore farmers have less than 2 hectares of land, he says. Don’t we have a responsibility towards the 12 crore farmers? This question of Charan Singh still exists, shouldn’t we find a solution?”
11.02 am: Modi is now speaking about the farmer protests against the new farm laws. “The Opposition has extensively raised questions in Parliament about the farmer protests,” the prime minister says.
11.01 am: All over world countries are suffering from economic depression, but India is attracting more and more Foreign Direct Investment, the prime minister says in his address to the Rajya Sabha.
10.55 am: Modi says India’s democracy is “not a western institution, but is a human institution”. “India’s nationalism is based on Satyam, Sivam, Sundaram,” he adds, quoting Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. “We have lost Netaji’s vision over the years, and today we are searching ourselves, he says. We have failed to tell our younger generations that India is the mother of democracy.”
10.53 am: India is not just the biggest democracy of the world, it is the “mother of democracy”, Modi claims, adding that the youth of the country must realise the value of this.
10.52 am: “Our strength is the federal structure,” Modi adds. “The Centre and states worked together to fight Coronavirus.”
10.51 am: “The Covid-19 period has added new strength to our federal structure and the spirit of cooperative federalism,” claims Prime Minister Modi.
10.49 am: The prime minister says there was a time when the world used to doubt and ridicule India’s capabilities. “Nobody knew whether India will get a vaccine or how many people will get it,” Modi adds. “From those days, we are now here – when our nation is making vaccines for the world.”
10.47 am: “The eyes of the world are set on India,” Modi adds. “It acknowledges that India played a key role in protecting human lives during the coronavirus pandemic. They are confident that India will contribute to the betterment of our planet.”
10.46 am: The prime minister lauds India’s vaccination programme. “The nation which is known as a ‘third world country’, is now vaccinating millions against the coronavirus,” Modi says.
10.43 am: Modi criticises the Opposition for pulling down the morale of citizens and frontline workers by constantly questioning the government’s way of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
10.42 am: “The credit for the successful handling of the pandemic does not go to a single party, citizen or politician,” Modi says. “The credit goes to India.”
10.40 am: The prime minister is now speaking about the way India handled the coronavirus pandemic. “The world expressed concerns about whether India could handle the pandemic,” he adds. “But India, for the sake of protecting its citizens, fought this unknown enemy successfully.”
10.39 am: India is a land of opportunities, Modi adds. “Several opportunities are awaiting us, so a nation which is young, full of enthusiasm, and a nation that is making efforts to realise the dreams will never let these opportunities simply pass by,” he says.
10.37 am: The prime minister takes a dig at the Opposition, saying “ it would have been nice if the members took part in President’s address”.
10.35 am: Modi thanks President Ram Nath Kovind, saying his address came at uncertain times when the world was grappling the coronavirus pandemic. “His speech had the vision of self reliance,” the prime minister adds.
10.32 am: Prime Minister Modi begins his speech in the Rajya Sabha.
9.15 am: Modi will start speaking around 10.30 am.
8.54 am: Communist Party of India MP Binoy Viswam gives suspension of business notice under Rule 267 in Rajya Sabha over the flash floods in Chamoli, Uttrakhand.
8.52 am: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nabam Rebia has given Zero Hour notice in the Rajya Sabha and demanded for the creation of a separate all India service cadre for Arunachal Pradesh, reports ANI.
8.42 am: Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi has given a suspension of business notice in the Rajya Sabha to discuss the Mumbai Police’s investigation of the Television Ratings Point scam, reports India Today.
8.40 am: Union minister G Kishan Reddy wll move that the bill to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, in Rajya Sabha today. He will also move that the bill be passed.
8.35 am: The Congress on Sunday issued a whip to all the MPs to be present in the Rajya Sabha today, reports News18.
8.30 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reply in the Rajya Sabha today on discussion on motion of thanks to President’s address, reports News18. The discussion on the motion has been the main business transacted by the Upper House over three days in which 50 members from 25 parties participated.
8.29 am: Discussions on the new farm laws are likely to continue in Parliament after a stormy session last week. Both the Houses were adjourned early on Friday after fiery debates between the Centre and the Opposition on the contentious legislations.