Sharad Pawar to fast in solidarity with 8 Rajya Sabha members suspended for chaos

Updated: 22 September, 2020 14:06 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Eight suspended members of the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday ended their day-long protest after a request from opposition leaders who also urged them to join in the boycott of the ongoing Monsoon Session

NCP chief Sharad Pawar
NCP chief Sharad Pawar

NCP chief Sharad Pawar will observe day-long fast on Tuesday in solidarity with 8 Rajya Sabha members suspended for chaos in the House over farm bills.

"I have decided to abstain from food and fast today in solidarity with the protesting MPs agitation,” said Sharad Pawar.

Though well-intentioned, Pawar said he had never seen Bills being passed in such a manner and questioned the haste, especially when the MPs had questions on the Farm Bills.

"Members wanted to ask more questions on the Bills. But, it appears they (the government) did not want any discussion. When the MPs did not get the response, they came to the well of the House," Pawar pointed out.

He said the Deputy Chairman of the Upper House had not adhered to the rules and "the Rajya Sabha Members were expelled for expressing their opinion," said the NCP chief.

“One suicide case is being talked about for the last three months. Ignoring other issues is not right. Farmers are also dying by suicide, the government needs to focus on that too,” Pawar added.

Eight suspended members of the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday ended their day-long protest after a request from opposition leaders who also urged them to join in the boycott of the ongoing Monsoon Session.

The agitating MPs said that it was not about revocation of their suspension but withdrawal of the "draconian" farm Bills.

"We have ended our protest but will join in the boycott of the session," Syed Nasser Hussain, one of the suspended Congress MPs, said. His party colleague Rajeev Satav, who too was suspended, said that their protests will move from Parliament to the streets.

The opposition has jointly decided to boycott the session till their three demands on the new agri Bills are met by the Union government.

"Till our three demands are not met, the opposition will boycott the session. We seek revocation of the suspension of the eight MPs, another Bill under which no private player can purchase farm produce below MSP, and implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations."

"No one is happy with the incidents that have taken place in the Upper House. The public wants that their leaders should be heard. No one can put across their views in just a few minutes. There will be de-escalation if MPs are not constrained by time to speak," added Azad, who is Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

While Azad said that the root cause of the dispute is "lack of coordination and time constraint", Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav said that he had apologised for conduct of the members, and hence the suspension of lawmakers must be revoked.

However, as there was no response from the Chair, the party "decided to boycott the session".

Jairam Ramesh, Chief Whip of the Congress in the House, gave seven reasons for the boycott of the session and alleged that the government is "bulldozing" the Bills.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu meanwhile "appealed to the opposition to reconsider their decision".

(With inputs from agency)

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First Published: 22 September, 2020 12:55 IST

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