Wed, 21 Oct 2020

New Delhi [India], September 20 (ANI): Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Sunday alleged that Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh was physically attacked during the discussion on the two agriculture bills in the Upper House and said that the Opposition has shown their anti-democratic mindset with their act.

Speaking on the bills, the minister said that farmers are now free to sell wherever they want, to whoever they want, and at whatever price they can command"At the same time, the structure of MSP has also been retained for those farmers who may wish to sell their produce through the Mandi-MSP structure. The bills passed today will bring in more investment and technology in the farming sector and go a long way in doubling the farm incomes. In every sense, this is a win-win situation for the farmers," Joshi said.

"However, such a historic day was marred by the uncouth, unparliamentarily, ruffian and violent behaviour of a few in the opposition, led by the Congress party. The debates on the three Agriculture bills was flowing smoothly. Many speakers had spoken. Towards the end of the debate, former Prime Minister Dewe Gowda ji spoke and everyone heard him in silence. Then Ahmed Patel of Congress party spoke and attacked the government and yet he was also heard fully as is the Parliamentary norm of civil debates," he said.

The minister said that the Congress party started its "thuggish" and violent behaviour after the chair's request to extend the session till the bills were disposed-off.

"After the debate was over and everyone was given a chance to make their arguments, the Agriculture Minister started his reply. However, in between his speech, the clock stuck 1 pm, the allotted end time for today's session. As is customary, when a business is ongoing, the Chair takes a consensus view to extend the session till such time as the matter in progress is disposed-off. Consensus does not mean unanimity and it is a settled Parliamentary practice. There was wide consensus to the chair's request to extend the session till the bills were disposed-off and the Chair proceeded accordingly," he said.

"However, it is at this time that the Congress party started its thuggish and violent behavior. Realizing that they did not have the numbers to prevent the passage of the historic bills that will empower the farmers, they resorted to shameful acts of physically attacking the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha. The Congress hooligans in front of live cameras was joined in by members of the Trinamool Congress and AAP," Joshi said.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that the rule book of Rajya Sabha, which is sacrosanct, was torn and thrown at the Chair.

"The entire nation then saw the dark day unfold in India's Parliamentary history. The Deputy Chairman was physically attacked. The mikes on his podium were broken and debris was hurled at him. The assistants to the Deputy Chairman was pushed and shoved and heckled. The rule book of Rajya Sabha, which is sacrosanct, was torn and thrown at the Chair. The marshals who formed a ring to protect the Chair and the staff of Rajya Sabha were physically attacked," Joshi said.

"Despite this wanton display of thuggery and goondaism, the Chair continued to request for calm and repeatedly asked members to go back to their seats and press their amendments to the bills, if any, and seek division, if they so wanted. The pleadings of the chair were met with even more violent and shameful behavior," he said.

Speaking further, Joshi said: "It was shocking and sad moment for not just us, who were inside the Parliament, but the entire nation which saw live the violence unleashed by the opposition inside the temple of democracy."He said that today will be remembered as a day when a handful of parties came together to obstruct reforms for Indian farmers.

"Their anti-farmer and pro-middleman face stand exposed in front of the entire nation. Not only are they anti-farmer, they are also experts at thuggery, violence, and in-discipline of the worst levels. The manner in which the Presiding officer was heckled, brutally attacked and booed is shameful," the minister said.

Joshi said that they have shown their anti-democratic mindset and have shown that they believe in no debate or civility.

"Like they try to do across the nation, they tried to do in the temple of democracy, our sacred Parliament which is a mini-India. Sadly, for them the people of India, especially the farmers of India are watching and will punish those who behaved improperly for their reckless, arrogant and violent behaviour," he said.

Amid protest from Opposition parties, The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill passed by Rajya Sabha.

Opposition parties on Sunday moved a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh after he overruled opposition pleas for postponing Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar's reply to the debate on the two farm bills till Monday since the sitting time scheduled of the House was over. (ANI)

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