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‘Dignity of the Chair devalued’

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.Vivek BendreVivek Bendre  

Extending support to the protest launched by Opposition MPs against the conduct of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh in the passage of two farm Bills, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said Mr. Harivansh had devalued the dignity of the Chair by not adhering to the rule book and hastily clearing the Bills.

“The Deputy Chairman should have listened to the protesting MPs who were showing him the rule book and demanding vote on those Bills. But he did not and instead rushed ahead with voice vote. It was obvious that the MPs were outraged,” he said. At a press conference here, the former Union Agriculture Minister said the behaviour of Mr. Harivansh had lowered the dignity of the Chair. “In my 50-years of parliamentary career, never have I seen such behaviour from the Chair. It devalued the dignity of the Chair. The same Deputy Chairman who did not follow rules went to meet the protesting MPs with tea. I am happy that none of the protesters had touched that tea.” He said as a mark of camaraderie to the protesting MPs, he was keeping a day-long fast.

Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauding Mr. Singh’s gesture of bringing tea by invoking the latter’s home State Bihar, Mr. Pawar said, “Even people of Bihar will not like his behaviour. It is surprising to me that the Deputy Chairman claims to belong to the legacy of greats like Karpoori Thakur. It doesn’t matter where a person comes from, what matters is your behaviour.”