The Centre murdered Parliamentary democracy today, alleged Trinamul Rajya Sabha MP and national spokesperson Derek O’Brien after the Rajya Sabha passed two key farm Bills, amidst unprecedented unruly scenes over the objection of opposition members who were demanding that the proposed legislation be referred to a House panel for greater scrutiny.
O’Brien, who was in the thick of the action, later said outside Parliament: “The government did not allow the Opposition a vote on the farmers’ bills. It is a sad day for Parliamentary democracy.”
The Upper House passed by voice vote the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, amidst pandemonium after four opposition sponsored motions to send the two bills to a House panel for greater scrutiny were negated by voice vote, even as the Congress, TMC, CPM and DMK members sought a division of vote on the issue.
There was shouting by members in the well of the House, tearing of official papers and attempts to uproot the Chair’s microphones. O’Brien thrust a Rule Book of the House in front of Deputy Chairman Harivansh who rushed through the passage of the Bills.
Later, speaking outside Parliament, O’Brien alleged that the government knew that it did not have the numbers and that is why they did not allow a division of votes. “Today, the BJP tried to break the back of yet another great institution of our democracy: Parliament.
“The basic rights of MPs guaranteed by the Constitution are snatched. No vote allowed in RS on farmers bills. Today’s day will be written in black letters,” he said.
O’Brien also slammed the government for cutting the Rajya Sabha television channel feed when the Oppositions were staging protest against the Bill and were allegedly being manhandled by the Marshals of the House.
“They cheated. They broke every rule in Parliament. It was a historic day. In the worst sense of the word. They cut RSTV feed so the country couldn’t see. They censored RSTV,” he wrote on Twitter