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'Why is the government scared?'

By A GANESH NADAR
December 02, 2021 15:13 IST
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IMAGE: Congress MP Rahul Gandhi joins the Opposition members' sit-in protest at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex against the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs in New Delhi, December 2, 2021. Photograph: ANI Photo

On Monday, 12 members of the Rajya Sabha were suspended from the Upper House for the entire winter session of Parliament for their perceived misconduct in the House in the Rajya Sabha for what they had been alleged to have done, in the previous session of Parliament in August this year.

One of the MPs suspended is the Congress MP from Karnataka, Dr Syed Nasir Hussain, who was also suspended from Parliament in September 2020.

"If MPs are not allowed to discuss, why are they having a session of Parliament? In the Narendra Modi era, there is no respect for Parliament. They don't allow laws to be discussed and they don't agree to send them to a committee for further discussion," Dr Hussain informs Rediff.com's A Ganesh Nadar.

 

What did you do that you were suspended from the Rajya Sabha?

I think it was done to deny discussion. We wanted to discuss the farm laws repeal, the Chinese incursion, Pegasus phone tapping, petrol and diesel prices and many other important matters.

They don't want to discuss. Then why have a Parliament session? Why are you not ready to discuss? In order to divert attention, they suspended 12 of us.

IMAGE: Dr Syed Nasir Hussain with former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh. Kind courtesy Dr Syed Naseer Hussain/Facebook

Last year you were suspended. Are you a serial offender, then?

Fourteen months back, eight of us were suspended as we had protested.

Five of those have been suspended again.

The government has a grudge against us as they were forced to repeal the farm Acts.

your party leader Sonia Gandhi has said you should move on from disruption to discussion.

We are ready to discuss, only if they allow us to discuss.

We have given notice under Rule 267.

Every day we give notice, but not even one is taken for discussion.

Others have been given a chance to speak.

Why don't they want a detailed discussion? It is for the benefit of the people of the country.

What do you think about the functioning of Parliament in the Narendra Modi era?

There is scant respect for Parliament. There is no respect for discussion.

They have a majority and they don't respect Parliament.

They don't allow laws to be discussed and they don't agree to send them to a committee for further discussion.

IMAGE: Opposition protest against the suspension of 12 Rajya Sabha MPs in New Delhi, December 1, 2021. Photograph: ANI Photo

The government has said if you apologize then it is ready to consider your case. Will you do that?

Apologise for what? Apologise for raising issues of the people?

Apologise for asking about Pegasus, farm laws, security of the nation, the Galwan crisis and diesel and petrol prices?

If MPs are not allowed to discuss, why are they having a session of Parliament?

How can you serve your people if you keep getting suspended from the House?

We are fighting an authoritarian and dictatorial government.

You will be targeted if you raise issues of the people.

The government does not believe in democracy. We have to fight it.

Why is the Opposition so keen on disrupting Parliament instead of letting it function and expose the government on the floor of the House?

That is what is happening. We are exposing the government on the floor of the House.

We are calling them to discuss and consult. The government is running away from the discussion.

We have asked questions, they don't reply. They stand exposed.

Why is there no discussion? There is no harm in listening to the Opposition. It will enrich Parliament.

Can there be a meeting ground between the government and the Opposition?

The Opposition wants to have a discussion on all major issues.

In the last two sessions, the average time for each bill is 11 minutes.

60% of Indians are involved in agriculture and they don't want to discuss the farm laws.

The Galwan crisis involves the security of the nation, can't we spend eight hours on that? Why are you scared? Why are you running away from that? We are only asking for a discussion.

The Rajya Sabha is said to be the House of Elders. Shouldn't there be more decorum there?

There should be more decorum and more sense in the House.

It is the duty of the government to see that there is a saner, wiser and detailed discussion in the Upper House for which it was constituted and the government is not allowing it.

Now that the farm laws have been repealed, do you think you have lost a weapon to attack the government in the assembly elections that will take place next year?

It is not about who has scored points. It is about farmers, our annadathas.

Our stand is vindicated. It would have allowed corporate giants to dominate farmers. Our arguments have been proved right.

Over 700 farmers have died, their families should be compensated. MSP should be mandated.

Do you feel the Trinamool Congress is a hindrance to Opposition unity?

TMC leaders have clearly said we are all united and will be part of the agitation in the Rajya Sabha.

We will unite for issues though we all have our own party agendas.

Is it true that marshals in the house were assaulted on August 11 and furniture was broken by Opposition MPs including you?

We made it clear that the government should release the video of the entire proceedings.

They are releasing selectively which suits them. Who is the provocator?

People who were not marshals had come into the House. The marshals pushed MPs that included women MPs and then said that the Opposition was unruly on that day.

What exactly was your role in the events of August 11?

I am the whip of my party. I was mobilising my party. I was raising slogans.

Our MPs were together so that our voices could be heard. We did not damage any furniture.

It is a story created by the government to discredit the Opposition.

What about AAP (Aam Aadmi Party)? No one seems to know which side it is on.

AAP has released a letter supporting us. They are with us.

Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com

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