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Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh to go on 24-hour fast; Opposition calls it a farce

Deputy Chiarperson Harivansh with protesting MPs. Photo Courtesy: Vice President Twitter Handle  

Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh has written an emotive letter to President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, accusing the Opposition of humiliating him. He also announced a 24-hour fast, hoping that this may inspire a feeling of “self purification” among the unruly members. His letter though did not wash with the Opposition leaders, who called it a “farce”.

Expressing his deep anguish and pain over alleged attempts to “intimidate” by violent behaviour of some members and “humiliating” conduct towards him, he accused the members of tearing the rule book and throwing it at him, stomping on the table of officials who played a central role in the functioning of the House and shouting unparliamentary and abusive slogans. This sight of “disrobing of democracy” jolted his mind and heart and he could not sleep for the whole night, the Bihar MP wrote.

He claimed that he may have made mistakes but he had the moral strength to own it up. “Whatever happened in front of me on September 20 has caused unimaginable loss to the dignity of House and Chair”, he said.

PM’s pat for Harivansh

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quick to pat Mr. Harivansh. “I read the letter written to the Honourable President by Honourable Harivansh ji. Every word of the letter has given new faith in our belief in democracy. This letter is inspiring & praiseworthy. There is truth & sensitivity in it. My request is, all citizens must read it”, he said.

Congress Deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said, “After brazenly violating rules, procedures and practices for passing bills and making laws, the Deputy Chairman is shedding crocodile tears for parliamentary democracy. Token fast is nothing but a farce. Hypocrisy will not wash away the sin of doing injustice to India's farmers.”

Congress Chief Whip in the House Jairam Ramesh said that respect had to be commanded. “The shadow of the forthcoming Bihar elections has fallen over Parliament now. It is all very well for Constitutional authorities to demand respect. They must, in fact, command respect by their non-partisan actions,” he tweeted.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 5:17:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rajya-sabha-deputy-chairman-harivansh-to-go-on-24-hour-fast-opposition-calls-it-a-farce/article32665741.ece

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