High drama continued in Parliament over the suspension of the eight Rajya Sabha MPs Congress and other parties boycotting the rest of the monsoon session in protest and and deputy chairman Harivansh saying he will go on a one-day fast after the suspended MPs refused tea that he served.
The MPs went on an overnight dharna over their suspension, but called off the dharna after Congress decided to boycott session.
The suspended MPs are Derek O’Brien (TMC), Sanjay Singh (AAP), Rajeev Satav (Congress), K K Ragesh (CPI-M), Syed Nazir Hussain (Congress), Ripun Boren (Congress), Dola Sen (TMC) and Elamaram Kareem (CPI-M).
Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet: “Here are the 7 reasons why the Congress and like-minded parties are boycotting rest of the Monsoon session of Rajya Sabha”
Reasons for the boycott included the manner in which the leader of opposition has not been allowed to speak, the way the government “bulldozed bills” and how bills had not been referred to select or standing committees of Parliament.
Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told ANI, “We’ll boycott Parliament session until the government accepts our three demands — government to bring another bill under which no private player can purchase below MSP, MSP to be fixed under formula recommended by Swaminathan Commission and government agencies like FCI shouldn’t buy crops below MSP.”
Earlier in the day, he had said in the Rajya Sabha, “Till our demands which include revocation of suspension of the eight MPs and government to bring another bill under which no private player can purchase below MSP are not met, the Opposition will boycott the session.”
The decision comes after deputy chairman Harivansh had tried to serve to to the protesting MPs in the morning and they had refused. He had then announced that he would go on a fast.
NDTV quoted the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha as saying, in a letter to Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, that he would observe a one-day fast as he was “anguished over opposition attacks in the House”.
His decision followed his gesture of trying to serve the protesting MPs tea in the morning, which they refused.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised the MPs in a tweet saying, “To personally serve tea to those who attacked and insulted him a few days ago as well as those sitting on Dharna shows that Shri Harivansh Ji has been blessed with a humble mind and a big heart. It shows his greatness. I join the people of India in congratulating Harivansh Ji.”
PTI reported that Harivansh came with tea very early in the morning along with a posse of news cameras and was told by a senior MP to visit them without the cameras and sit with them.
“Another senior MP also told him that while bringing tea was a nice gesture, he was still in the wrong in what he did. He was told that he was the one who broke the rules,” a protesting MP told PTI.
Several leaders said they did not accept the tea and snacks offered by the deputy chairman. “I did not have the tea brought by him,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh said.
Singh also responded to Modi’s tweet, saying, “Modi ji we’re not fighting for our tea. We are fighting for the welfare of our farmers, which you have taken away. I humbly request you as I return your tea with all due respect, please return my farmers’ food.”
(With PTI inputs)