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Farm Laws: Centre Agrees for 15-Hour Discussion on Protests in Rajya Sabha

More than 16 opposition parties had demanded a five-hour standalone discussion on the controverisal laws.
Farm Laws: Centre Agrees for 15-Hour Discussion on Protests in Rajya Sabha

Image Courtesy: PTI

In what is being hailed as a breakthrough in talks with opposition parties, the Centre in Parliament agreed to discuss the farmers protests against the Farm Laws for 15 hours in the Rajya Sabha.

According to an NDTV report the discussion will happen in the upper house of Parliament where the Question Hour has been suspended for two days.

The report mentioned that the “truce was short-lived” however as the opposition objected to Chairman Venkaiah Naidu’s announcement that the discussion would happen after the debate on the motion of thanks to the President’s address to Friday’s joint session of Parliament.

There was an adjournment in proceedings in the House after three Aam Aadmi Party members were marshalled out after Naidu asked them to withdraw as they trooped into the Well of the Rajya Sabha raising slogans against the new Farm Laws. The three MPs – Sanjay Singh, Sushil Kumar Gupta and N.D. Gupta – have been asked to remain absent from the House for the remaining part of the day.

More than 16 opposition parties had demanded a five-hour standalone discussion on the controverisal laws which the government reportedly agreed to increase to 15 hours.

“Since the government has accepted this proposal we are ready for a discussion,” Leader of Opposition and Congress MP, Ghulam Nabi Azad, was quoted saying. Azad also requested that if the debate did not happen before the Motion of Thanks then more time be given to it.

In Parliament on Tuesday:

On Tuesday the government asserted in Lok Sabha that it was ready to discuss issues related to farmers both inside and outside Parliament amid vociferous protests by the opposition.

Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day on Tuesday without transacting substantial business as the Congress and other opposition members demanded a discussion on the farmers’ protest over the three new laws.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had told the lower house after the first adjournment that the Modi government was committed to discuss the farmer issues.

“Government is ready to discuss issues related to farmers inside and outside Parliament,” he had said amid sloganeering by opposition members.

Tomar's reply came after Congress leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, claimed that 170 farmers have died during the ongoing agitation against the three laws. “Atrocities are being committed on farmers. Situation is similar to British rule,” Chowdhury alleged.

After the President's Address to both Houses of Parliament on Friday and presentation of the Union Budget on Monday, Tuesday was the first regular sitting of Parliament.

Members of the Shiv Sena were seen raising slogans from the aisles. Former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal was also seen holding a poster demanding repeal of the contentious agriculture legislation.

While CPI(M) leader Elamaram Kareem had said water and electricity supplies to the farmer protest sites have been cut, DMK's Tiruchi Siva said farmers have been sitting on roads for over two months in the cold and the issue needs to be discussed separately. Manoj Jha (RJD) had said Parliament should at least discuss the issue.

The farmers’ protest against the three Farm Laws at Delhi’s borders entered its 70th day on Wednesday. Farmers from Punjab have been protesting against the laws since August last year before taking the agitation to Delhi on November 26, 2020. 

(With PTI inputs)

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