Farm laws issue rocks Lok Sabha for second day, Oppn demands separate discussion

Farm laws issue rocks Lok Sabha for second day, Oppn demands separate discussion
Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar at Parliament House during the ongoing Budget Session, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. PTI/Arun Sharma

New Delhi: Lok Sabha proceedings were washed out for the second consecutive day on Wednesday after the House was repeatedly adjourned due to protests by opposition members who were demanding a separate discussion on the farm laws issue.

The House reassembled four times but was unable to conduct business as the members of the Congress, DMK, AAP and the SAD trooped into the Well and shouted slogans against the farm laws, ignoring repeated appeals by Speaker Om Birla to maintain order.

As the proceedings started at 4 PM, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury tried to raise the issue of farmers' agitation against the agri laws, saying the matter is harming the image of the country.

"We are concerned," he said.

Several opposition members entered the Well, protesting against the farm laws.

Chowdhury later demanded a separate discussion on the Presidential address and the farmers' issue.

During the day Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said he had discussions with the leaders of opposition parties and they had agreed to start the discussion on the motion thanking the President for his address.

"Now, they have made a U-turn and that is also like an insult to the President," Joshi said.

Speaker Om Birla reminded the MPs that the whole nation is watching their conduct. He said the people have sent them to the House to raise matters related to the common man and not to chant slogans and disrupt proceedings.

Urging the members to return to their seats, Birla said they should maintain the dignity of the House or else he will have to take disciplinary action.

He said the Question Hour is important and it should go on.

However, repeated assurances by the Speaker that the members will be given adequate opportunity to put forward their views, did not cut ice with the protesting opposition members.

Amid the din, the House was first adjourned till 4.30 PM, followed by adjournments till 5 PM, 7 PM and later till 9 PM.

Birla urged Aam Aadmi Party leader Bhagwant Mann and others to go to their seats if they want a discussion. But the opposition members did not pay heed to his requests, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings again till 5 PM.

Similar scenes were witnessed when the proceedings resumed, with many slogan-shouting opposition members entering the Well again.

After various documents were tabled, the Speaker requested the agitating members to return to their seats as he wanted to start the Zero Hour, saying it is important to talk about the problems faced by the people in the members' constituencies.

However, the sloganeering continued. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader and former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal was also in the Well, holding a poster against the farm laws.

As soon as the house assembled at 9 PM, members from opposition parties again entered the Well and continued raising slogans forcing the speaker to adjourn the House for the day.

There were more than 20 members, including from the Congress, DMK, AAP and the SAD, protesting in the Well.

Several farmer unions have been staging protests at various border points of Delhi since late November demanding the repeal of the farm laws.

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