Farm Laws Repeal Bill Passed In Parliament Undiscussed; 12 Opposition MPs Suspended From Rajya Sabha

Farm Laws Repeal Bill Passed In Parliament Undiscussed; 12 Opposition MPs Suspended From Rajya Sabha
Image source: ANI

After over a year of agitations by farmers across the country, the bill to repeal the three controversial farm laws was passed in the Parliament earlier today. The Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021, was passed amidst ruckus by the opposition parties, who demanded a discussion on the bill. The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha without any discussion on the first day of the winter session. Before the session began, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the media and said, “The government is ready to debate any issue and answer any question. We should debate in Parliament and maintain the decorum of the proceedings.” Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said, “The intention of the government is clear – we want to pass the Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021 in the Lok Sabha and subsequently take it to Rajya Sabha. I appeal to the Opposition to cooperate with us when the Bill is taken to Rajya Sabha.” Tomar introduced and tabled the bill in the Lok Sabha while Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) continued to protest in the well of the House.

The Farmers Law Repeal Bill was passed to take back the three controversial farm laws introduced in 2020 – the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. Heated agitations had broken out in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for the most part soon after the introduction of the laws. Before the withdrawal of the laws was announced, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha had also planned to mark one year of their protest by holding a tractor rally to the Parliament on every day of the winter session.

Stating that the laws have been repealed as demanded by the opposition and that they are still creating unnecessary ruckus, Agriculture Minister Tomar questioned, “I ask the Opposition what is their intention?” Opposition leaders argued that there should have been a discussion before passing the law. The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge said, “We welcome the withdrawal of the three farm laws… We demanded a discussion on several incidents that took place during agitation including the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and the electricity bill… Farmers are still present at the protest site.”

During today’s session in the Rajya Sabha, 12 opposition MPs of the Upper House were suspended for their conduct during the last monsoon session. The MPs suspended for the rest of the winter session are Elamaram Kareem of Communist Party of India (Marxist), Phulo Devi Netam, Chhaya Verma, R. Bora, Rajamani Patel, Syed Nasir Hussain and Akhilesh Prasad Singh of the Congress, Binoy Viswam of the Communist Party of India, Dola Sen and Shanta Chhetri of the TMC, and Priyanka Chaturvedi and Anil Desai of the Shiv Sena.

Claiming that the CCTV footage from the last session should be examined to uncover the truth, suspended Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said, “If you see the CCTV footage it has been recorded how male marshals were jostling female MPs. All of this on one side and your decision on the other? What kind of unparliamentary behaviour is this?”

Calling her suspension “unfair and unjust”, Congress MP Chhaya Verma told ANI, “There were other members from other parties who created a ruckus but the chairman suspended me. PM Modi is doing just as he wishes since he enjoys a brute majority.” Stating his suspension as the “murder of democracy” Congress’ Ripun Bora said, “We had protested for the cause of farmers, the poor people and as Parliamentarians, it is our duty to raise the voices of the oppressed, deprived. If we don’t raise the voices in Parliament, where will we do that?”

 

Read more: Centre Declares Withdrawal Of The Three Contentious Farm Laws

 

The opposition parties, in a joint statement, called the decision to suspend the 12 MPs “unwarranted and undemocratic”. They mentioned, “Floor leaders of Opposition parties of the Rajya Sabha will meet tomorrow to deliberate on the future course of action to resist authoritarian decision of the government and defend Parliamentary democracy.”

PM Modi had declared the withdrawal of the three controversial laws on Guru Nanak Jayanti, ahead of assembly elections in several states such as Punjab and Uttar Pradesh where the farmers’ protest has been the strongest. “We tried our best to explain to farmers. We were even ready to modify the laws, suspend them too. The matter reached the Supreme Court as well. In view of this, we are repealing the farm laws. We appeal to farmers, on this auspicious day of Guru Purab, to return to your homes, to your fields. I assure you that I will work even harder to realise your dreams,” said the prime minister.

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