M A I N   N E W S

MSP issue: SAD MPs force LS adjournment
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
Members of Parliament of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Punjab, supported by other Opposition members, today forced the adjournment of the Lok Sabha for a day rejecting a meagre hike of Rs 10 in the minimum support price (MSP) of paddy and cotton by the government.

Rejecting government’s proposal to hold discussion on the Calling Attention Motion on the issue, Opposition MPs, led by Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, came to the well, the moment question hour started at 11 in the morning.

“We have been demanding first an announcement of hike in the MSP of paddy and cotton by at least Rs 100 a quintal before any discussion on the issue,” SAD leader S.S. Dhindsa later told The Tribune.

He said if the Centre failed to announce hike in the MSP of paddy and cotton, Akali MPs and MLAs from the state would stage a dharna in the national capital on August 8.

He added that the government should first revise the support price before proposing a day-long discussion on the issue.

Earlier, disregarding Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s repeated pleas for order as a Calling Attention Motion on farmers’ issue was listed in today’s agenda at 12 noon, the Opposition members stormed the well raising slogans against the government.

“UPA government murdabad, Kisana de qatil, UPA government (UPA government, killer of farmers) shouted highly charged Opposition members.

Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu was seen making signs to Congress MPs from Punjab Preneet Kaur and Rana Gurjit Singh to join the protests. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was sitting in the House at the time, while Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar appeared for a moment before leaving the House.

She looked enjoying every moment, when some Congress MPs also raised counter slogans like “Kisano ke rajniti band karo” (Stop the politics over farmer issue).

The Speaker, while asking the Opposition to raise the matter as per the agenda, admonished SAD MPs saying “doing this, you are not serving the farmer’s cause — Is this responsible behaviour?”

On the plea of BJP leader V.K. Malhotra, he withdrew his remarks against Akali MPs.

As sloganeering continued, Parliamentary Affairs Minister P.R. Munshi said, “Your leader had proposed a Calling Attention Motion and now he is disrupting the House.”

Later he told reporters that Akalis were doing politics over the issue keeping in view the coming state Assembly elections.

Question hour could not be taken up amid the vociferous sloganeering, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House twice. When the House reassembled at noon, the scene was no different and Mr Chatterjee decided to call it a day.

Outside Parliament, Congress MP Rana Gurjit Singh said the state government had already rejected a meagre hike of Rs 10 in the MSP and demanded a substantial hike in the paddy and cotton prices, keeping in view unprecedented hike in the prices of diesel, pesticides, seed and other inputs.

On no reports of farmers’ suicides in Punjab, he said, “The Centre should appreciate that courageous farmers of Punjab are fighting their battle and not committing suicide. But they are also trapped in indebtedness requiring state support like farmers in other states.”

Congress MP from Patiala Preneet Kaur said Akali MPs were only interested in raising the issue, but the Congress government in the state had already provided them free power, water, withdrawal of octroi and would help them get reasonable price from the Centre as well.




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