Don’t sign farm Bills, 18 parties urge President after Rajya Sabha chaos

Leaders of Congress, the Left parties, NCP, DMK, SP, Trinamool Congress and the RJD have in a memorandum to the President sought his intervention in the matter.

Published: 21st September 2020 04:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd September 2020 09:06 AM   |  A+A-

A delegation of SAD led by Sukhbir Singh Badal after meeting with President Ram Nath Kovind | Parveen Negi

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Describing it as “absolute and total murder of democracy” in Parliament over the manner in which the government “pushed through its agenda” to get the two controversial farm Bills passed by the Rajya Sabha on Sunday, as many as 18 Opposition parties on Monday wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him not to grant his assent to the proposed legislations.

“We, belonging to diverse parties cutting across India’s political and geographical spectrum, bring this representation to you to respectfully draw your urgent attention to the absolute and total murder of democracy, ironically in the most hallowed temple of democracy, Parliament,” read the letter.

Leaders of various political parties, including the Congress, the Left parties, NCP, DMK, SP, TMC and the RJD, also requested the President to return the Bills and exert all powers — constitutional and moral — to ensure such a “black law” does not become a law. Two of three farm Bills that the government says will bring major reforms to the farmers were passed in the Upper House amid chaos, with Opposition members rushing to the Well of the House, attempting to tear up the rule book and the microphone of the Deputy Chairman. 

On Monday, eight members were suspended for “unruly conduct”, but their refusal to leave the House led to five adjournments of the Rajya Sabha.The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill give farmers the freedom to sell their produce anywhere in the country and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 enables farmers to get into a contract with agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for the sale of future farming produce at a pre-agreed price. 

“On an issue like this majoritarian, insensitive, and uncaring governance has no role at all, and all stakeholders have to listen, absorb and imbibe and thereafter act with humility. There is no place for politics of zid (stubbornness) and arrogance,” added the letter. The Congress has also decided to launch a nationwide agitation from September 24.

Murder of democracy: Mamata
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Monday termed the suspension of eight Opposition MPs in the Rajya Sabha as the “murder of democracy” under PM Narendra Modi’s “dictatorship”. She urged all Opposition parties to fight against the farm Bills. “The government is pushing the country towards another famine like 1976. When the nation is fighting against Covid-19, the Centre is forcing the people to face another crisis,” the TMC chief said.

‘Cong, RJD owe answer to Bihar’
The government on Monday came down heavily on the “unruly behaviour” of the Opposition MPs in the Rajya Sabha, with the Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying the Congress and the RJD will have to explain to the people in Bihar for the attack on the Deputy Chairman of the House Harivansh Singh. “We are not saying that we will make the attack on the Deputy Chairman an election issue in Bihar. Harivansh is a reputed person... The Congress and the RJD owe an answer to the people of Bihar,” said Prasad.


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