In Rajya Sabha, Opposition raises farm bills along with Pegasus

Parliamentarians in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi on August 2, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Opposition protest continued to disrupt the proceedings of the Rajya Sabja for the 10th consecutive day on Monday, with the parties raising objections to the three controversial farm laws besides the Pegasus ‘cyberattack’.

While the Trinamool Congress (TMC) continued with the protest on Pegasus, the Congress, Left and others raised a demand to scrap the farm bills. The protests led to two adjournments, and the Inland Vessels Bill, 2021, was passed amid din.

The TMC, Congress, SP and the Left parties were in the well of the House, while the NCP, Shiv Sena and the RJD stood at their seats in protest.

Many members, sources said, felt that taking a militant position on Pegasus had left other issues unheard. The MPs from Haryana and Punjab especially took up the issue.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dialled Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Opposition in the House. Sources said it was just a courtesy call. No offer of an all-party meeting on Pegasus was made by Mr. Singh.

“The Opposition parties want Parliament to run and discuss three important issues. A: Withdraw the farm bills and have a discussion on the ongoing agitation by farmers. B: we need a discussion on state of economy and unemployment. C: National Security that is Pegasus. But we have to start with C,” TMC floor leader Derek O’Brien said. All the 15 parties who attended the morning meeting of Opposition parties were all on the same page, he asserted.

Congress’s stand

The Congress though is still uncomfortable with this position. The sources said that they wanted to pause the protests to be able to participate in the debate on the Inland Vessels Bill. But with raucous protests from the TMC, Congress MP Shakti Sinh Gohil, who was designated to speak on the Bill, could not raise his concerns. The Congress did not join others in the well of the House once the Bill was taken up for discussion.

Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the Bill would “bring uniformity in application of laws relating to inland waterways and navigation within the country”.

The Bill was passed as the Opposition members shouted “no” from the well of the House. As the Opposition continued to protest, the House was adjourned for an hour, only to resume for a few minutes before being adjourned for the day.

(With inputs from Damini Nath)

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 3:43:08 AM |

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