Eight Rajya Sabha MPs suspended; resolution against Deputy Chairman junked
After trying to stall the passage of two out of the three Agriculture Bills in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday, the opposition moved an unprecedented resolution, seeking the removal of Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh. The motion was junked by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu today. He also suspended eight members for a week for unruly behavior. Earlier, 12 opposition parties blamed Singh for violating laws.
Yesterday, opposition parties said they have "no confidence" in Singh, adding that he can't preside over the House's proceedings until a decision on the resolution is taken. The resolution, drafted by Abhishek Singhvi and KTS Tulsi, said Singh overlooked parliamentary procedures and didn't even let diverse political parties speak against the contentious Bills. Singh's decision to extend the session also miffed opposition parties.
Notably, the parties that lent support to the resolution were Congress, Trinamool, DMK, CPM, CPI, RJD, AAP, TRS, SP, IUML, and Kerala Congress (M). On yesterday's commotion, Congress' KC Venugopal said, "The Treasury benches came with a pre-fixed mind. They were not ready to listen to the agony of the farmer, the Opposition voice, they were not ready to have a division (of votes)."
In a press conference yesterday, Congress claimed Singh and BJP colluded to get the Bills passed. The party claimed some BJP members whispered into Singh's ears. "Not the parliamentary minister. But apart from him, BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav also whispered into the ears of deputy chairman. What conspiracy has been done?" Venugopal asked, adding that opposition voices' need to be heard in a democracy.
As per rules, if a resolution seeking Rajya Sabha Chairman's removal is passed by the majority of the members of the Upper House, the person can lose their office. However, such a resolution can only be furnished if a 14-days' notice has been given, clarifying the intention of such a step. DT Achari, Lok Sabha's former Secretary-General, called the latest resolution "unprecedented."
When the House resumed today, after a stormy session, Naidu said yesterday was a bad day for the Rajya Sabha. "Deputy Chairman was physically threatened. He was obstructed from doing his duty. This is unfortunate and condemnable. I suggest to MPs, please do some introspection," Naidu said, as he sided with his deputy. He also said the motion is not admissible under parliamentary rules.
The parliamentarians who were suspended are — Derek O'Brien, Sanjay Singh, Raju Satav, KK Ragesh, Ripun Bora, Dola Sen, Syed Nazir Hussain, and Elamaran Karim. Yesterday, in a bid to oppose the Bills, Derek had climbed onto the podium, shoved the rulebook at Singh's face, and indulged in sloganeering. Some of the opposition leaders also tried to break mics installed in the House.