Parliament passes bill to repeal farm laws sans discussion
Both the Houses of Parliament on Monday passed the Farm Laws Repeal Bill. It is meant to officially scrap the three controversial agricultural laws passed last year which are at the center of the ongoing farmers' protest. It was passed swiftly and without any discussion in the Lok Sabha. Congress and other Opposition parties slammed the government for not holding a discussion.
Why does this story matter?
Monday's proceedings are crucial marking a turning point in the yearlong farmers' protest. However, they also add weight to the Opposition's claims the central government is not interested in holding discussions in the Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the repealing of farm laws earlier this month citing the farmers' protest which had begun last November.
Bill passed in Lok Sabha in 4 minutes
The Lok Sabha (Lower House) passed the Bill in a matter of minutes amid the Opposition's unfulfilled demands for a discussion. In the Rajya Sabha (Upper House), the Bill was cleared following a brief discussion. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said in the House that all parties supported the Bill. Now several leaders have attacked the government over the lack of discussion.
'Not even a fig leaf of democracy'
"Modi I (2014-19): Repealing and Amending Bill 2017 was one instance. Six MPs participated in discussion. A fig leaf of democracy then. Some shame," Derek O'Brien of the Trinamool Congress party tweeted. "Modi II (2019-today): #FarmLaws Repeal Bill 2021 taken up and passed. NO debate allowed. Not even a fig leaf of democracy. SHAMELESS," his tweet read.
Shashi Tharoor, Supriya Sule criticize government
"What they did is wrong. We wanted to raise the farmers' demand for a law guaranteeing Minimum Support Price (MSP) and compensation for farmers who died during protests. But the government denied us that chance," Congress leader Shashi Tharoor told NDTV. Nationalist Congress Party's Supriya Sule said, "This government doesn't want discussion. They have (a) problem with debate."
Ready to answer all questions, PM Modi had said
Earlier in the day, PM Modi had said his government is ready to discuss all issues and answer all questions in the Parliament. Both the Houses saw multiple adjournments on the first day of the Winter Session amid sloganeering and ruckus by Opposition leaders. Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, and others had held a protest at the Parliament House.
12 Opposition MPs suspended
Meanwhile, 12 Opposition MPs from Rajya Sabha have been suspended for violence during the previous, Monsoon Session of Parliament. The members include Shiv Sena's Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai, Elamaram Kareem of the CPM, and Trinamool Congress's Dola Sen. They have been barred from the rest of the Winter Session. The Opposition, on the other hand, said the suspension is "unwarranted and undemocratic."