Government lists farm law repeal on House agenda on November 29

Prime Minister skips all-party meeting; Opposition demands MSP law.

Updated - November 29, 2021 10:15 am IST

Published - November 28, 2021 02:40 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of Parliament House in New Delhi. File

A view of Parliament House in New Delhi. File

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 28 skipped the customary all-party meeting, convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, a day before the start of the winter session of Parliament that will take up the repeal of the three farm laws.

The government listed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 , in the Lok Sabha’s list of business for November 29 but no time for debate has been allotted as yet since the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) will take place only on November 29 morning.

In the explanatory note to the Repeal Bill, the government justified the farm laws and said only “a group of farmers” were protesting but added, “As we celebrate the 75th Year of Independence ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, the need of the hour is to take everyone together on the path of inclusive growth and development”.

Price rise, Pegasus

Earlier in the day, at the government’s all party meet, Opposition leaders raised a host of issues issues including a new law to guarantee of minimum support price (MSP), discussion on price rise, unemployment and the Pegasus snooping controversy among others.

Several Opposition leaders also demanded the dismissal of the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Ajay Mishra ‘Teni’, whose son is an accused in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

The government was represented by Deputy Leader of the Lok Sabha and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal, besides Mr. Joshi.

 

Mr. Singh, who chaired the all-party meet, informed the Opposition floor leaders that though Mr. Modi had started the practice of attending the government’s all-party meet since 2015, he couldn’t do so on Sunday because of an official engagement.

Sharing its legislative agenda for the 19 sittings spread over 25 days from November 29, the government listed 36 bills to be taken up during the winter session that ends on December 23.

CAA repeal

The meeting also saw National People’s Party (NPP) MP, Agatha Sangma, who is part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), requesting the government to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), ‘respecting’ the sentiments of the people in the Northeast.

 

“The Opposition leaders raised 15-20 issues during the meeting and urged the government to take immediate action on the farmers’ issue, a new law for MSP and the electricity issue. Also, there was a discussion on a possible third wave of COVID and I demand that the government corrects the death figures and offers ₹4 lakh as compensation to all the victims…We expected that the Prime Minister would attend the meeting and answer our issues. But, the PM did not come to the meeting,” Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters after the meeting.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said 42 leaders from 31 parties participated in a constructive discussion and reiterated that “there is no tradition of the Prime Minister attending the all-party meeting”.

“The govt is ready for any discussions permitted by the Chairman and the Speaker without disruptions,” he said.

Other issues that were raised included compensation for over 700 farners who died during the year-long protests, alleged Chinese incursion, COVID-19 preparedness and past mismanagement, high fuel prices, state of the economy and the extension of the Border Security Force’s jurisdiction in border States.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders Derek O'Brien and Sudip Bandyopadhyay raised around 10 issues at the meeting which included bringing the Women’s Reservation, the federal structure being “weakened”, discussion on COVID, increasing BSF’s powers in border States like Bengal apart from the others common issues.

 

When TMC leaders and other Opposition members talked about government “bulldozing” bills without scrutiny by the Parliamentary Standing Committees, the Defence Minister is said to have assured the Opposition leaders that more bills would be sent to the parliamentary panels in the future.

While the Bahujan Samaj Party raised the issue of Dalit atrocities and reservation in promotions besides other issues, the Samajwadi Party called for action on Mr Mishra, the MoS Home Affairs.

National Conference Farooq Abdullah raised the issue of violence in Jammu and Kashmir and the restoration of early statehood.

Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader, Sanjay Singh, said he had walked out after being interrupted while speaking on the need for new law on MSP but government sources claimed he left only after finishing his speech.

Among the prominent Opposition leaders who attended were Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Anand Sharma (Congress) T.R. Baalu and Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Vinayak Raut (Shiv Sena), Ramgopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satish Mishra (BSP), and Prasanna Acharya (Biju Janata Dal).

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