New Delhi: Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Monday sought to turn the unruly behaviour of opposition Congress and RJD MPs with Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh as an insult to Bihar’s pride, saying the people of the state have been “very hurt”, and the Congress and RJD owe them an answer.
JD(U) leader Singh, who was elected the Upper House’s deputy chairman last week, hails from Bihar, which will go to polls later this year.
“We do not want to make it a political issue but the way the Congress and RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) kept looking when Harivansh ji was attacked and also encouraged it in the most unabashed way, will be told to the people of Bihar. Congress and RJD will have to answer the people of the state,” Prasad said at a press conference.
The minister’s comments come at a time when the political temperature is heating up in Bihar ahead of the elections.
The Congress and the RJD are the main opponents in Bihar, where the Janata Dal (United) in alliance with the BJP and Lok Janshakti Party are in power. Prasad’s comments on how Bihar’s pride has been hurt by Singh’s “insult” by Congress and RJD could have political ramifications in the state.
Prasad said that the deputy chairman is not only a well-known intellectual of the country, but is also an eminent citizen of Bihar, who is widely respected by the people of the state.
“Harivansh ji comes from the same village as Jaiprakash Narayan. Today, the people of Bihar are very hurt by the humiliation meted out to him by the opposition,” Prasad added.
Opposition members led by the Congress, Trinamool Congress and RJD had created massive ruckus in Rajya Sabha Sunday, coming to the well of the House, tearing the rule book and breaking microphones during the passage of the two contentious farm bills. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien had claimed that the opposition MPs were denied voting rights in the Rajya Sabha.
Both the bills — Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 — were passed by voice vote amid a din in the Upper House.
NDA had majority with support of 110 members
While the opposition has been alleging that deputy chairman Singh did not allow them to vote when the bill was being passed because the NDA did not have the required numbers, Prasad Monday said that they had a “decisive majority”.
“110 NDA members were present in the House and were clearly supporting the bill. The opposition had 72 members. We had a decisive majority,” Prasad said.
“The opposition did not want the voting to happen. That’s why they indulge in a behaviour, which was against parliamentary decorum.”
Prasad said that the deputy chairman had requested the opposition members 13 times to go to their seats if they wanted to vote.
“They did not listen. And after that you all saw what happened. Mike was broken… an opposition leader tore the rule book. There is enough visual evidence available that if the marshals had not come to protect the deputy chairman, he could have been physically harmed,” he said.
Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu Monday suspended eight opposition members from the House for a week for the remaining part of the monsoon session, which ends on 1 October, for their unruly conduct.
The suspended members are Trinamool leaders Derek O’ Brien and Dola Sen, Congress’ Rajeev Satav, Ripun Bora and Syed Nasir Hussain, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh, CPI(M)’s Elamaram Kareem and K.K. Ramesh.
Meanwhile, the opposition led by the Congress and Trinamool is sitting on a night-long dharna inside the Parliament premises to protest the way they were denied their right to vote in the Rajya Sabha.