Two of the three big ticket farm bills of the government were passed in Rajya Sabha by voice vote on Sunday amid unprecedented uproar and protests. The opposition claimed the government did not have the numbers and to cover it up, all rules were violated.
“This does not end here,” said Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien, terming it a “murder of democracy”. All the opposition MPs sat in protest inside the house, hampering the sanitization operations before the Lok Sabha session which begins at 3 pm. “They cheated. They broke every rule in Parliament. It was a historic day. In the worst sense of the word. They cut RSTV feed so the country couldn’t see. They censored RSTV. Don’t spread propaganda. We have evidence,” Derek O’Brien later tweeted.
The opposition, which lacked the numbers to block the bills, had demanded that the bills be sent to a select committee for further discussion. The trouble started as the Deputy Chairman said the opposition resolution was negated and moved to pass the bills by voice vote. The opposition demanded a physical voting, pointing out that they were sitting in parliament.
When the Chair refused, they rushed to the Well of the House, attempted to tear up the rule book and tried to snatch the Deputy Chairman’s microphone. “Mahabharat has broken out inside parliament,” Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad said. Opposition MPs could be seen recording the moment on cellphones, drawing repeated rebuke from the chair. Insisting that the rules were not being followed, Mr O’ Brien, whose point of order was not accepted, said “This is a brutal murder of the Parliamentary democratic system”.
The house was adjourned immediately for 10 minutes and after it resumed, the voice vote took place amid repeated slogans from the opposition who again parked themselves in the Well of the House. In a video statement, Mr O’Brien who could earlier be seen waving the rule book, later said the Rajya Sabha TV was “cut off” and censored”. “The members of the opposition asked for a vote. We were denied it… It is a historic day, in the worst sense,” he tweeted.