Opposition parties including the Congress, Left, TMC and DMK on Tuesday walked out from Rajya Sabha after their demand for suspension of business of the day to take up a discussion on the farmers' agitation was rejected by the Chairman. The opposition parties had given notice under rule 267 calling for the suspension of business of the day to take up discussion on the ongoing agitation by farmers on Delhi borders against three new farm laws.
When the House met for the day, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he has received notice under rule 267 from various members but the issue can be raised during the discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President's address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament.
The President, he said, had referred to the farmer's agitation in his address made at the start of the Budget session of Parliament. While Lok Sabha is scheduled to start a discussion on the motion on Tuesday, Rajya Sabha will do so on Wednesday. "As we are going to start a discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President's Address tomorrow, members can participate and raise their concerns," he said rejecting the notice. He said several rounds of discussions have happened between the government and the farmers' group.
"I understand the concern (of members) for the need to resolve the issue at the earliest date," he said. Naidu, however, allowed members who gave notices to make very brief mentions. Thousands of farmers have been protesting at the Delhi borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The protesting farmers have expressed the apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP) system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big corporations. However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring better opportunities to farmers and introduce new technologies in agriculture.
Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the farmers have been camping at Delhi's borders for more than two months and the issue needs to be discussed. Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said the House is not aware of what is going on between the government and farmers and the House should discuss the issue separately from the Motion of Thanks.
"We want a discussion on a specific issue," he said. While CPI leader Elamaram Kareem said water and electricity supply to the protest sites has been cut, DMK's Tiruchi Siva said farmers have been sitting on roads for over two months in the cold and the issue needs to be discussed separately.
Manoj Jha said Parliament should at least discuss the issue. However, Naidu did not agree to their demand after which the members of Congress, Left, TMC, DMK and RJD staged a walkout. "No one is stopping you from discussing the issue tomorrow. Tomorrow you will get an opportunity," he said. Naidu said 10 hours have been allocated for discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President's address and an equivalent amount given for discussion on Budget.
"Please take the opportunity tomorrow," he said.