Lok Sabha sees repeated disruptions over farm laws

Heated argument: A view of the Lok Sabha during ongoing Budget session of Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday.  

The Lok Sabha witnessed repeated disruptions on Thursday as a united Opposition insisted on having a separate discussion on the farm laws instead of clubbing it with the motion thanking the President’s Address to a joint sitting of Parliament.

The aggressive stance by the Congress-led Opposition exposed the differences with the Congress on breaking the deadlock, as the Rajya Sabha had agreed to club the issue of farm laws with the Motion of Thanks debate.

Between adjournments, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla met the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi to break the deadlock.

Before the proceedings for the day ended, the Lok Sabha managed to run the Zero Hour — when individual MPs can raise important issues — for about 40 minutes, without the participation of the Opposition MPs.

Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi kept up the pressure on the government by devising a common strategy with the floor leaders of like-minded parties to press for a separate debate on the farm bills.

“It is absolutely essential”, he is learnt to have told Opposition leaders from Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), National Conference, Shiv Sena, Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI (Marxist), Aam Admi Party (AAP) and the All-India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).

In the midst of sloganeering, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also introduced a bill to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

As soon as the Lok Sabha proceedings started at 4 p.m., Opposition members rushed to the Well of the House and started sloganeering.

Senior leaders, including Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi party, Harsimrat Kaur Badal of the Shiromani Akali Dal, and Kanimozhi and T.R. Baalu from the DMK, were seen displaying posters against the farm laws either from their seat or the aisle.

Though Mr. Birla continued the Question Hour for nearly 15 minutes, he adjourned the House after Opposition refused to heed to his advice to return to their seats.

When the House resumed at 5 p.m., BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi was on the Chair and asked the Law Minister to introduce his bill. Urging the Opposition members to return to their seats, Ms. Lekhi said MPs were making “a mockery of themselves”.

Several MPs, including Dayanidhi Maran (DMK), Danish Ali (BSP) and Mahua Moitra (BSP), were seen wearing black masks that said “I stand with the farmers”. Nationalist Congress Party’s Supriya Sule had distributed them just before the House resumed at 5 p.m. After that the Lok Sabha was adjourned three times before resuming at 8.30 p.m. to run the Zero Hour.

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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 3:09:22 AM |

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