'Muting of Democratic India': 8 MPs Suspended Over Farm Bills Row Refuse to Leave RS After Adjournment

Suspended Trinamool Congress MP Dola Sen sings a song in the Parliament premises.

Suspended Trinamool Congress MP Dola Sen sings a song in the Parliament premises.

Sources told News18 that an ambulance has been arranged as standby for the protesting members, while drinking water has also been arranged as the leaders plan to stay at the site overnight.

The suspension of eight MPs, including TMC leader Derek O'Brien and Sanjay Singh of AAP, for the remaining part of the Monsoon Session over their "unruly behaviour" during the passage of farm bills has prompted the leaders to go on an indefinite sit-in inside Parliament complex.

A motion for the suspension of the eight leaders — Rajeev Satav, Syed Nasir Hussain and Ripun Bora (all Congress), Dola Sen and O'Brien (TMC), KK Ragesh and Elamaram Kareen (both CPM), and Singh, was moved by the government and approved by a voice vote in the House.

This came after Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu rejected a notice for a no-confidence motion against Deputy Chairman Harivansh as it was not in proper format and did not give a 14-day notice period. Opposition members, objecting to the manner in which the two farm bills were being passed, had on Sunday stormed the well of the House and when their demand for voting wasn't met, they tore papers, climbed on tables, shouted slogans, and allegedly threw the rule book at Harivansh, who was presiding at that time.

Condemning their behaviour, Naidu said Harivansh had later informed him that he was "abused with objectionable words" and "would have been harmed also". Opposition parties hit out at the government over the suspension of the eight Rajya Sabha MPs and sat in for an "indefinite" protest on Parliament premises against the move.

Carrying pillows and blankets at the protest site, the eight MPs shouted slogans and even broke into songs as they protested in front of Mahatma Gandhi's statue in Parliament complex. "We will not budge," they asserted. "Suspension won't silence us. We will stand with farmers in their fight. The (Rajya Sabha) deputy chairman throttled parliamentary procedures yesterday," said CPI(M) MP Elamaram Kareem, who is among those suspended.

Sources told News18 that an ambulance has been arranged as standby for the protesting members, while drinking water has also been arranged as the leaders plan to stay at the site overnight.

The proceedings of Rajya Sabha were almost washed out on Monday as it could not take up any legislative business. Earlier in the day, some members managed to raise issues during Zero Hour. The House witnessed five adjournments as some opposition members continued protests over suspension of members. As soon as the House resumed at 12pm, Bhubaneswar Kalita, who was in the chair, asked the suspended members to leave the House and urged members to maintain decorum.

However, the opposition members refused to budge forcing the Chair to adjourn the House for the day. Earlier in the day, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu termed the behaviour of members during the passage of the bills on Sunday as "very unfortunate, unacceptable and condemnable" and one that has "tarnished" the image of Parliament, particularly the House of Elders.

Naidu said some members came to the Well and hurled papers, rule book at the Deputy Chairman and abused him. He said some members were “climbing on the Secretary General’s table, dancing, shouting in the Well, tearing papers, breaking the mics, obstructing Deputy Chairman from his duties, throwing papers, Rule Book on Deputy Chairman”… “is it parliamentary standard?”, he asked and told the members to do some introspection.

The Congress on Monday reacted sharply to the suspension of the eight opposition MPs, including three of its own, with former president Rahul Gandhi saying the "muting of democratic India continues" by initially silencing and later suspending the parliamentarians.

"'Muting Of Democratic India continues: by initially silencing and later, suspending MPs in the Parliament & turning a blind eye to farmers' concerns on the black agriculture laws," Gandhi said in a tweet. "This omniscient' Govt's endless arrogance has brought economic disaster for the entire country," the former Congress chief said.

Reacting to the development, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked whether or not there is any parliamentary system in the country. "Is it a sin to raise the voice of the farmer in Parliament? Have dictators held Parliament hostage?" Surjewala said in a tweet.

"Do you not listen to the voice of truth under the influence of power? How many voices will you suppress Modi ji...Of the farmers, of workers, of small shopkeeper, of Parliament," he tweeted with the hashtag 'Kisaan Virodhi (anti-farmer) Modi'.

The government on Monday moved a motion seeking the suspension of Derek O'Brien (TMC), Sanjay Singh (AAP), Rajeev Satav (Congress), K K Ragesh (CPM), Syed Nazir Hussain (Congress), Ripun Boren (Congress), Dola Sen (TMC) and Elamaram Kareem (CPM).

Amid opposition, the motion was adopted by voice vote and Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked them to leave the House but they remained present and protested the ruling. The chairman also rejected a notice for a no confidence motion against Deputy Chairman Harivansh on the grounds that proper procedure was not followed.

The Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, were passed by the Rajya Sabha on Sunday with a voice vote, amid unprecedented unruly scenes by protesting opposition members demanding that the proposed legislations be referred to a House panel for greater scrutiny.

The two bills have already been passed by the Lok Sabha and will now go to the president for his assent before they are notified as laws.

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