Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 3
Farmers’ stir dominated discussions on the President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with the BJP and Opposition clashing over the future of the new agriculture laws.
After the BJP’s lead speaker Bhubaneswar Kalita from Assam defended the legislations while cautioning the Opposition against turning the farmers’ agitation into another Shaheen Bagh, the Congress and Samajwadi Party urged the government to rescind the laws rather than stand on prestige.
Amit Shah briefs Prime Minister
Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the ongoing agitation and the law and order situation. Later, Shah tweeted, “No propaganda can deter India’s unity! No propaganda can stop India from attaining new heights!” Ministers Piyush Goyal and Smriti Irani and celebrities Karan Johar, Ajay Devgan and Akshay Kumar also tweeted with hashtags “Indiatogether and “India against propaganda”.
The Motion of Thanks on President’s Address, which Kalita moved, saw 118 amendments by opposition MPs, including DMK’s Tiruchi Siva and Congress’ Digvijay Singh, Deepender Singh Hooda and KC Venugopal. The RS allocated 15 hours for the debate after the Opposition and the government agreed to extend it beyond the scheduled 10 hours to include time for discussion on farmers’ issues.
Kalita, former Congress chief whip in the RS, said the new laws would give new rights to farmers and doors were open for them to amicably resolve the issue. The BJP’s Vijaypal Singh Tomar, who seconded the motion, listed 12 expert committees that deliberated upon the farm reforms for two decades. Speaking in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tomar slammed the Opposition for “spreading misinformation” and said the new laws would empower small farmers and help their children become job providers.
Opening the debate from the other side, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad insisted on repeal of laws saying that the “government should not make it a prestige issue”.
“There can be nothing better than the PM himself announcing the decision to withdraw the laws,” said Azad, asking the Centre to form a committee to locate “people who had gone missing after the Republic Day violence”.
“We condemn what happened on January 26, particularly at the Red Fort but please ensure innocent farmer leaders are not implicated or the agitation will swell,” he warned.
Demanding farm law repeal, SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav cautioned the government against corporate monopoly over farm produce.
The Lok Sabha proceedings, meanwhile, were adjourned repeatedly on Wednesday as the protesting opposition members demanded a separate discussion on farm laws.
The House reassembled thrice, only to again adjourn till 5 pm, then 7 pm and later till 9 pm as the Opposition continued its protest despite repeated assurances by the Speaker that the members would get adequate opportunity to put forward their views.
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