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Opposition protests over Pegasus, farm laws continue in Parliament

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
July 27, 2021 19:30 IST
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The proceedings of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned for the day on Tuesday amid continuous protests by opposition members over the Pegasus snooping row and farm laws, as they demanded that discussions be taken up on the issues in the House.

 

IMAGE: Members protest in the well of the Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi, on Tuesday. Photograph: RSTV/PTI Photo

Lok Sabha

After being adjourned nine times, the Lower House reassembled at 4.30 pm and Rajendra Agrawal, who was in the Chair, took up one matter of urgent public importance.

However, the Opposition members again trooped into the Well shouting slogans and carrying banners.

Members of the Congress, the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Trinamool Congress were protesting over the Pegasus snooping row, while the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Samajwadi Party and the Shiromani Akali Dal were raising slogans against the Centre's three new farm laws.

Agrawal urged the protesting members to go back to their seats.

"We are requesting you to please cooperate and participate in the proceedings," he said.

With opposition members not willing to relent, Agrawal adjourned the House for the day.

Earlier, Speaker Om Birla led the members in paying tributes to Anerood Jugnauth, former president of Mauritius, and Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda, the first president of Zambia.

The opposition's protests started soon after the proceedings began at 11 am.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said by disrupting the proceedings, the Opposition is not allowing the ministers to do their duty of replying to questions.

The Speaker repeatedly urged the protesting members to go back to their seats.

"Do not compete with each other in sloganeering. Compete with each other to raise people's issues," he said.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar took a swipe at the protesting Opposition members and said if they are concerned about farmers, they should allow the proceedings of the House to continue.

He made the remarks while replying to a supplementary query related to an insurance scheme for farmers during the Question Hour as the Opposition members continued with their sloganeering on various issues, including the Pegasus spying controversy and the agriculture laws.

"There are around 15 questions related to farmers. If the Opposition members are really concerned about farmers, they should listen to what the government has to say," Tomar said.

"Disruptions are lowering the decorum of the House," he said.

As the protests continued, the House was adjourned for the first time till 11.45 am.

When the House met again, the protests continued, leading to another adjournment till 12 noon.

As the Lok Sabha reassembled at 12 noon, Agrawal, who was chairing the proceedings, asked the protesting members to discuss their issues and said the government is ready to answer their questions.

As the protests continued, Agrawal adjourned the House till 12.30 pm and later till 2 pm.

Subsequently, Bhartruhari Mahtab, who was in the Chair, had to repeatedly adjourn the House due to continuing protests.

Rajya Sabha

The Congress, the TMC and other opposition party MPs rushed into the Well of the House, shouting slogans against alleged surveillance and farm laws, forcing the Chair to adjourn the proceedings four times before winding up for the day.

Amid the din, the House passed the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021, which will replace an over nine-decade-old law governing lighthouses and provide a fresh framework to establish and manage vessel traffic services.

The Rajya Sabha has so far failed to transact any substantial business in the Monsoon Session that started on July 19.

There has only been a discussion on COVID-10 management in the Upper House.

An exasperated Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said that the agitating members were harming the interest of the country, the MPs and also Parliament with their conduct, as his repeated appeals to them to maintain order went unheeded.

"I am concerned over media reports that some sections of the House have decided not to allow the functioning of the House for the remainder of the session," he said.

No sooner had the House condoled the death of former member Wasim Ahmad, former prime minister of Mauritius Anerood Jugnauth and Zambia's first president Kenneth David Buchizhya Kaunda, the opposition MPs rushed into the Well shouting slogans.

Some members said they have given notices under Rule 267 seeking suspension of the listed business of the day to take up a discussion on the issues they were raising.

As the slogan-shouting disrupted the proceedings, Naidu said today is the sixth scheduled sitting of the monsoon session.

"We are yet to get into business mode," he said.

Asking the members to introspect over such an attitude, he said this is what is being made out of parliamentary democracy.

"Parliament is meant for making laws, to discuss public issues (but) nothing is being allowed," he said, adding that important bills are listed for discussion and passing.

He referred to eight bills being passed in 17 minutes in the past.

"Unfortunately, Parliament is being reduced to such a sorry state of affairs," Naidu said, expressing unhappiness over the disruptions.

"Leaders of parties have voiced their concern over the ongoing state of affairs of this august House and being deprived of raising issues of public concern."

He said members are being deprived of making zero-hour submissions of public importance, making special mentions and raising questions.

"You are harming the interest of the country, yourself and also the interest of Parliament," he said.

"I appeal to all of you to please rethink about this attitude. See to it that the discussion takes place."

As the slogan-shouting continued, he remarked that the chair does not accept dictation or dramatics.

"I will never accept such dictation by anybody. Dictation or dramatics is not going to be accepted by the chair, whosoever is in the chair," he said before adjourning the proceedings till 1200 hours.

Soon after the members met at noon and Deputy Chairman Harivansh announced the Question Hour, the Opposition members again stormed the Well and started raising slogans against the government.

The deputy chairman's repeated pleas to the protesting members to take their seats and allow the Question Hour to function did not yield any results.

The deputy chairman said they are depriving others of an opportunity to ask questions from the government and requested the protesting members to follow the rules as they are flouting COVID-19 norms.

"Members who are in the well are snatching the rights of others," he said.

Deputy leader of the House Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, "The kind of words and language being used by the Opposition members for the prime minister is highly objectionable."

He also said the protesting Opposition members are violating the coronavirus protocol as they are raising slogans in the Well without wearing masks.

As the Opposition members continued their sloganeering, the deputy chairman adjourned the House till 2 pm.

When the House met again, Deputy Chairman Harivansh asked the House to proceed with a discussion on the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021.

As a Bharatiya Janata Party MP started speaking on the bill, the Opposition members, some of them carrying placards, trooped into the Well and started raising slogans against the government on the Pegasus snooping row.

The deputy chairman then adjourned the House till 3 PM but similar scenes were witnessed again as the proceedings resumed.

The deputy chairman asked the House to proceed with a discussion on the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021 and called the members whose names were listed for the discussion.

However, as no one came forward, he asked Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal to reply, after which the bill was passed.

The House was adjourned then till 4 pm.

Later, Biju Janata Dal member Sasmit Patra, in the chair, adjourned the House for the day immediately after Women and Child welfare minister Smriti Zubin Irani moved a motion for consideration of The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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