NEW DELHI: As the protesting MPs snubbed his offer of tea on Tuesday, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Harivansh Narayan Singh, in an emotional letter to President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, announced a 24-hour fast citing Opposition members’ “humiliating” conduct towards him in the House.
Invoking his humble origins and his socialist inspirations like JP, Harivansh, in his three-page letter, spoke about his anguish over the ruckus in the House during the passage of two farm Bills. His fast, he hoped, may inspire a feeling of “self-purification” in opposition members. He recounted how the Opposition members engaged in a “violent” conduct in the name of democracy and shredded every norm and convention of the House.
This “disrobing of democracy” jolted his mind and heart and he could not sleep for the whole night, he wrote. “Whatever happened in front of me on September 20 has caused unimaginable loss to the dignity of House and Chair.” He wrote that he was born in the same village at Saran in Bihar as anti-Emergency icon Jayaprakash Narayan and spoke about the influence of Mahatma Gandhi, Ram Manohar Lohia, Karpoori Thakur and Chandra Shekhar on him.
The JD-U MP from Bihar wrote that people like him will come and go, but “this temple of democracy” (Parliament) will always be a source of inspiration. While PM Narendra Modi showered lavish praise on Harivansh and urged everybody to read his letter, Opposition parties smelt a political ploy in the wake of Bihar Assembly elections.
Lauding his “inspiring” and “statesman-like” gesture of offering tea to the Opposition members accused of “insulting” him, Modi said it showed he was blessed with a humble mind and a big heart. Congress MP Jairam Ramesh tweeted that Constitutional authorities must “command respect by their non-partisan actions”.