Parliament LIVE Updates: Protesting farmers' condition resembles that of prisoners, Opposition MPs tell LS Speaker

09:47 (IST)

Sharad Pawar's letter to CMs being needlessly raked up: NCP's Praful Patel

Praful Patel of the NCP said, "Centre and States have together fought the COVID-19 pandemic along with the frontline medical workers. I thank them all 1.55 lakh people died in the pandemic and if we were to compare the mortality rate with the other countries we are definitely better placed."

"Why is our farmer feeling insecure? We need to think about it. We welcome the fact that you are thinking about the progress of farmers. The entire Opposition had urged the government to send the laws to a Select Committee. What was the hurry? If widespread consultations were held, we would not be seeing the spectacle that we are witnessing right now," Patel said.

"Many a times a letter of Sharad Pawar has been brought up - the 2007 letter that he wrote to Chief Ministers sending in a model Bill. Eventually, the Bill never came to the Parliament. But the government is needlessly raking up the issue. The model law circulated by Sharad Pawar had more participation from farmers," Patel said, listing out the differences between the two laws.

09:36 (IST)

BJP issues three-line whip to RS MPs

BJP has issued a three-line whip to its Rajya Sabha MPs to be present in the House from 8 to 12 February to support the government's stand.

09:25 (IST)

How can economic crisis be Act of God: CPI's Binoy Viswam

CPI MP from Kerala Binoy Viswam said, "The railway track incident in Aurangabad in which poor migrant labourers were killed and hit by a train speaks a lot about the plight of the poor and the government has no excuse and tell them that their interests and their concerns taken care of. Just not true at all."

He went on to say that the finance minister called COVID and the economic crisis as an Act of God. "How can it be an Act of God? Of course the country faced a lot of difficulties during the lockdown days but the economy was tumbling down even before COVID and the lockdown," he further said.

09:20 (IST)

Rajya Sabha proceedings begin

Rajya Sabha MPs Mary Kom (Nominated), KK Ragesh (CPM) and Oscar Fernandes(Congress) have sought leave.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said some of the Members exceeded their time. "So the time will be reduced from their party's quota." When members start complaining, Naidu said, "I am not going to bargain."

09:13 (IST)

BJP MP gives notice in RS to discuss 'handling of COVID-19'

BJP MP Mahesh Poddar has given short duration discussion notice in Rajya Sabha over 'efficient handling of COVID-19 situation in the country'.

09:10 (IST)

Opposition MPs write to Lok Sabha Speaker over farmers' protests

MPs from 10 Opposition parties on Thursday wrote a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla saying that, "The impression we got at the Delhi Ghazipur border is like the border between India and Pakistan. The condition of farmers resemble that of prisoners in jail."

Over 15 MPs from parties including SAD, DMK, NCP and Trinamool Congress, were stopped by the Delhi Police from meeting the protesting farmers at Ghazipur border on Thursday morning.

09:06 (IST)

Both Houses to discuss Motion of Thanks

Both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha will hold a discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President Ram Nath Kovind's speech.

On 3 February, five extra hours were added to the duration of discussion in Rajya Sabha on the motion thanking the President for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament to allow debate on the farmers' protest against the three laws.

Parliament LATEST News and Updates: Lok Sabha proceedings were disrupted for the third consecutive day on Thursday as protests by Opposition members demanding a separate discussion on the three contentious farm laws created uproar, leading to repeated adjournments of the House.

The House was convened five times within the day but the session could only achieve only part of the business listed for the day.

The Lower House witnessed the introduction of The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) 2021, two questions in the Question Hour, laying down of some papers, and roughly thirty minutes of discussion in the Zero Hour, all alongside fierce sloganeering from Opposition.

The Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, witnessed a fiery debate on the farmers' issue as members debated the Motion of Thanks to President's Address. Opposition parties assailed the government over its handling of the farmer protests, saying BJP ministers "believe in monologue and not dialogue".

Lok Sabha

As soon as the House assembled at 4 pm, members of the Opposition started shouting slogans against the Central Government and the three farm laws. Few questions related to the ministry of roads and highways were replied to by Union minister Nitin Gadkari. But the sloganeering continued.

"Question Hour is the right of MPs... This behaviour is not good and I again request you all to return to your seats so that the House proceedings run properly," said Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

"Shouting slogans and showing placards are against parliamentary tradition," he added.

But the Opposition members refused to relent forcing Birla to adjourn the House till 5 pm after about 20 minutes of proceedings. When the House reconvened at 5 pm, members of the Opposition again started raising slogans.

Some ministers and members laid papers on the table of the House, and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Arbitration and Conciliation Amendment Bill, 2021.

Meenakshi Lekhi, who was in the Chair, asked the members to return to their seats, but they continued with their protests. Soon, she adjourned the House till 6 pm after about 15 minutes of proceedings.

When House reassembled at 6 pm, the Opposition continued its protests shouting slogans and showing placards.

Rajendra Agrawal, who was in the chair, appealed to the members to go back to their seats so that the House can function normally.

"You have every right to raise any issue that you would like to. Please exercise this right. Please go to your seats, please don't show the placards. You can raise your issues through the discussion on the motion thanking the President for his address," he said.

However, the Opposition ignored his pleas and continued the protests, forcing Agrawal to adjourn the House till 7 pm after just 10 minutes of proceedings.

At 7 pm, it took less than five minutes for the House to be adjourned again, this time till 8.30 pm. However, the late evening leg of today's session was slightly more productive as the Zero Hour was held for roughly 30 minutes before the House had to be adjourned for the day.

The Opposition sloganeering continued uninterrupted for the entire duration that the House was in Session.

Rajya Sabha

Opposition parties on Thursday launched a vociferous attack on the Centre over its handling of the farmers' agitation, callings its dialogues with the protesters "monologues", even as the ruling BJP defended the new laws asserting that its government is committed to the welfare of peasants and increase their incomes.

Attacking the government, Opposition parties said trenches have been dug, barbed wires put up and spikes installed at the sites of farmers' protests, whereas bridges should have been built to win them over.

The BJP highlighted the farm welfare measures and slammed the Opposition for disrupting the House proceedings.

Participating in the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, Congress MP Deepinder Singh Hooda said the government has no right to question the patriotism of farmers as they are the ones who have made the country self-sufficient in food. He hit out at the government saying it should show a big heart and accept the demands of farmers by repealing the farm laws.

"You talk about making (the country) self-sufficient. Let me warn you that a self-obsessed government cannot make Aatmanirbhar Bharat (self-sufficient India)," he said.

Hooda lamented that there has not been a single word of condolence from the government on 194 farmers who lost their lives during the ongoing agitation.
Resuming the discussion, Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD said the government has lost the patience to hear, and any criticism is painted as anti-national.

He noted that one has not seen such an aggressive approach even towards the neighbouring nations who came into Indian territory.

"Patriotism is not be worn on sleeves but carried in heart," he said making use of poetry and sarcasm. Contesting the government's claim of having 11 rounds of dialogue with agitating farmers, he said its ministers "believe in monologue and not dialogue".

Digvijaya Singh of the Congress lashed out at the government, saying measures like demonetisation to the CAA were "blunders that hit the people hard". He said the void between the Modi government's promises and implementation was big and it could not win the hearts of people.

He said the prime minister had "lost their trust".

"You have got majority but dissent is the essence of democracy," Singh noted.

Former prime minister and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda called farmers the backbone of the country. He said miscreants and anti-social elements were behind the events on Republic Day and all political parties have condemned their actions and agree that they need to be punished.

"But the farmers' issue should not be mixed with it," he said and added that "the issue should be dealt with amicably".

However, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the government is committed to farmers' welfare and will help increase their incomes. He said the Central Government will provide Rs 1 lakh crore additional income to farmers that will be generated by converting waste into energy.

The minister said the heap of waste at Ghazipur will also be cleaned soon to create energy. Pradhan also said the government has come up with a scheme to procure ethanol worth Rs 20,000 crore which will help increase farmer's income.

He attacked Congress for not bringing a law on MSP of crops despite being in power for long. "You question those working honestly for farmers' welfare farmers," he said.

"The Opposition Congress cannot appreciate such government efforts as it has never done except for hailing its dynasty," he said.

BJP member Jyotiraditya Scindia said the government has taken a host of steps in the last six years to increase their income.

Scindia attacked his former party Congress for changing its stand on the three legislations, saying that the Opposition party had favoured similar laws in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

"Opposition parties will have to change their habit of going back on their words and wondered for how long they would continue to harm the interests of the country," he said.

Scindia said the opposition has insulted the President, the country, and the democracy by boycotting the President's address.

Swapan Dasgupta (nominated) stressed on the need for upgrading the farm sector. "If we can rise above this basic partisanship and welcome the Centre in the states and states with each other, I think we can be looking forward not merely to an 11 percent (GDP) growth but a growth which can be 15 percent which can be the envy of the whole world," he said.

Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien pressed the government to repeal the three farm laws and offered a "Repealing Bill 2021" drafted by him for the purpose. He also demanded a proper inquiry into the death of a farmer during the tractor parade in Delhi on Republic Day. He claimed the government had failed the migrant workers and also India's federal structure.

"They have failed the media. You can intimidate and threaten media barons but not the young media persons (on the ground)," he said.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh said his party would continue to support the farmers protesting against three farm laws. He alleged that the current dispensation is just working for the benefit of some of the industrialists.

Highlighting the Centre's resolve to double farmer income by 2022, O'Brien said at the current rate this will not happen till 2028. "In Bengal, in TMC government, from 2011 to now, not doubled, farmer income has tripled in West Bengal," he said. The Trinamool MP said the farm laws were not sent to a select committee for scrutiny and accused the government of failing the sanctity of the Parliament.

CPM Rajya Sabha member Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya asked the government to withdraw the three contentious farm laws and hold talks with the agitating farmers. He criticised the move to put barricades, cement blocks, concertina wires, and spikes at the farmer protest sites on Delhi's border points.

NR Elango of the DMK asked the government to withdraw the three farm laws.

Banda Prakash of the TRS asked the government to complete the project promised to Telangana during the reorganisation of Andhra Pradesh. Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) MP MV Shreyams Kumar on Thursday said the government has remained a mute spectator while democracy is being "butchered" just a few kilometers away from the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting at Delhi's borders for over two months demanding rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

Earlier Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy introduced a new Bill - The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

With inputs from PTI



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