Twelve Opposition parties Sunday gave a notice for a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh over the manner in which two farm Bills were passed in the Upper House after he overruled their pleas for an adjournment of the proceedings.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Farmers' and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, through voice votes, amid the vocal protests by the opposition.
The parties that have submitted the notice include the Congress, All India Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, CPI, CPI-M, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, National Conference, DMK and the Aam Aadmi Party.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel said 12 parties have given a notice of no-confidence against the deputy chairman, as the manner in which the Bills were passed is a “murder” of democracy.
"Our demand for adjourning the House and division of votes was disallowed,” he said. "We gave a no-confidence against the attitude of the Deputy Chairman and the manner in which the Bills were passed."
Following the ruckus in the Rajya Sabha, Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury took to Twitter and said, “Outright murder of Indian Parliament. Every MP has the inalienable right to demand a division of vote on every matter that comes before the Parliament for legislation.
This has been brazenly denied; and amounts to destroying our Constitutional Republic.”
Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi accused the government of being “arrogant” and causing “tears of blood” in the eyes of the farmers with the passage of the bills today.
Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav, too, said that the government has strangled the voice of opposition as well as farmers while betraying the people.
JD(U) leader Harivansh was reelected as the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House on September 14, the first day of the ongoing Monsoon Session.
Patel said the Deputy Chairman should have “safeguarded democratic traditions but harmed them instead”.
The protesting members sat in Rajya Sabha after the House was adjourned following the passage of the Bills.
TMC MP Derek O'Brien also accused the government of "murdering" the Parliamentary system and democracy.
"The government did not allow the Opposition a vote on the farmers' bills. It is a sad day for the Parliamentary democracy," he said.
The TMC MP alleged that the government knew that it did not have the numbers and that is why they did not allow a division of votes.
"Today, the BJP tried to break the back of yet another great institution of our democracy: Parliament.
"The basic rights of MPs guaranteed by the Constitution are snatched. No vote allowed in RS on farmers bills. Today's day will be written in black letters," he said.
DMK president M.K. Stalin, on the other hand, demanded that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami apologise immediately to the people of Tamil Nadu for his party’s support to the three Bills on agriculture reforms.
“An apology alone will justify his position and offer temporary protection,” he said.
Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram asked the government how it will guarantee that farmers get the minimum support price (MSP) for their produce.
"Agriculture Minister says that government will guarantee that the farmer will get MSP. Private trade takes place even today. The price paid to the farmer is invariably less than MSP. If the Agriculture Minister can magically ensure MSP, why has he not done that so far?" he said, in a series of tweets.
"How will the Minister know which farmer sold his produce to which trader? How will he know the millions of transactions that will take place every day all over the country? If he does not have the data, how will he guarantee MSP is paid in every transaction?" Chidambaram said.
"Does the Minister and the government think that the farmers are so foolish to believe the empty promise of the government?" he questioned.
Also read: Farm Bills: Why BJP Should Worry About Facing Isolation