New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lauded Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Harivansh Narayan Singh, for his unique gesture and humility and walking up to the protesting ‘suspended’ lawmakers.
“To personally serve tea to those who attacked and insulted him a few days ago as well as those sitting on Dharna shows that Shri Harivansh Ji has been blessed with a humble mind and a big heart. It shows his greatness,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
The row over the conduct of the MPs in the House of Elders over the passage of farm Bills is seemingly far from over.
Eight opposition members of the Rajya Sabha, suspended on September 21 over the massive chaos when controversial farm bills were passed on Sunday (September 20), spent the night on the lawns of the parliament complex. They announced an indefinite protest.
The 8 suspended Opposition members are Derek O Brien and Dola Sen (Trinamool), Rajiv Satav, Syed Naseer Hussain and Ripun Bora (Congress), K K Ragesh and Elamaram Karim (CPI-M) and Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh.
In a letter to Chairman, M Venkaiah Naidu, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh said: “From the last two days, I am in pain, distress, and in mental agony due to whatever happened on September 20 in the Rajya Sabha. I could not sleep at night. In the name of democracy, violent behaviour was shown by honourable Members from the Opposition. This is brazen violation and tradition of the Upper House”.
He further said: “The rule book was torn and thrown at me. Some MPs also stood on the table, used unparliamentary language against me. I kept recalling the entire incident that happened in the House and was unable to sleep,” he said in his letter”.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the letter from Harivansh Narayan Singh makes it clear that he was “hurt”.
“A tweet comes from abroad, and the drama starts….,” he said in reference to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
“Never in my career of 25 years, I have seen any member dancing on the table of the House,” Prasad said in reference to conduct of protesting MPs on Sunday.
The suspended MPs had on Monday refused to leave the Rajya Sabha. A no-confidence motion against Harivansh Narayan Singh was also rejected by Vice President and Chairman of the House, M Venkaiah Naidu. He said the members had “physically threatened” his deputy and even abused him.
Harivansh Narayan Singh on Tuesday morning met the protesting MPs.
However, the opposition camp was not much impressed with the gesture of Harivansh Narayan Singh.
In a video in circulation in media during the visit of Harivansh Narayan Singh to the site of protesting MPs, near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Parliament premises, Mr Derek O’ Brien (suspended Trinamool leader) was heard telling Harivansh Narayan Singh: “BJP should not use you for Bihar elections”.
“Farmers are the pillars of our agrarian nation. BJP’s unconstitutional attack on the grassroots of our society is proof of their pseudo-nationalism. We will fight your fascism from the pavement to the Parliament,” tweeted Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee backing the protesting lawmakers.
AAP member Sanjay Singh, who too was suspended, said, the protest will continue ‘against the farmer bills’ until the Modi government provides a rationale behind passing these bills.
The Prime Minister, in another tweet said: “For centuries, the great land of Bihar has been teaching us the values of democracy. In line with that wonderful ethos, MP from Bihar and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Shri Harivansh Ji’s inspiring and statesman-like conduct this morning will make every democracy lover proud”.
PM Modi and his government have strongly defended the passage of agricultural Bills and said these were part of the reform strategies and will help farmers to come out from the control and influence of middlemen.
“Ab desh andaza laga sakta jae ki achanak kucch logon ko jo dikkat honi shuru hui hae, who kyon ho rahi hae (Now the country can understand why some people are unhappy that the middlemen have been done away within the agri sector),” PM Modi had tweeted on Monday.
Opposition members have accused the Deputy Chairman, Harivansh Narayan Singh, of helping the government rush through the contentious bills on Sunday. Harivansh Narayan Singh had rejected their request for sending the bills to a select committee, and the confrontation led to chaos when Trinamool Congress floor leader Derek O’ Brien tore up the ‘Rule Book’. Some videos on the chaos and unprecedented unruly behaviour of the opposition MPs have gone viral on social media as well.
“I am pained at what happened…It was a bad day for Rajya Sabha,” said chairman Venkaiah Naidu.
Suspended Rajya Sabha MPs from the Opposition on Tuesday ended their sit in after Ghulam Nabi Azad announced a boycott of proceedings in the ongoing session.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had tweeted from abroad: “Muting Of Democratic India’ continues: by initially silencing and later, suspending MPs in the Parliament and turning a blind eye to farmers’ concerns on the black agriculture laws”.