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Rajya Sabha Dy. Chairman To Observe 24-Hour Fast Over Farm Bills Row

Harivansh, in a letter to chairman Venkaiah Naidu, wrote that he was ‘unable to sleep’ for two nights due to Sunday’s unprecedented chaos in the House.

Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh Narayan Singh said on Tuesday that he will observe a 24-hour fast in protest against the against ‘unruly behaviour’ with him by Members of Parliament during the passage of key farm reform bills, Hindustan Times reported.

Harivansh, in a letter to chairman Venkaiah Naidu, wrote that he was ‘unable to sleep’ for two nights due to Sunday’s unprecedented chaos in the House. “In the name of democracy, honourable members of the House indulged in physical violence,” he added.

Highlighting his humble background and series of events that transpired in the Upper House on Sunday, the deputy chairman said he is inspired by Lord Buddha and, as such, will observe a one-day fast hoping that this might inspire ‘self-purification’ among those who ‘mistreated’ him.

Marking the birth anniversary of legendary poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, who was also a two-term Rajya Sabha MP, Harivansh said he will observe a 24-hour fast from September 22 to September 23 on the occasion. He will, however, attend the proceedings of Rajya Sabha, he mentioned.

Amid the high political drama continuing for three days over contentious farm reform bills, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad declared in the upper house that the opposition will boycott the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha till three key demands, as well as a “request” of revoking of the suspension of eight members, are met.

The suspended MPs continued their sit-in outside parliament near the Mahatma Gandhi statue, after spending the entire night over there. Owing to the unprecedented chaos in the Rajya Sabha on Sunday and the “unruly behaviour” of MPs when the farm bills were passed, 8 MPs of opposition parties were suspended from the Rajya Sabha for the ongoing session. Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay singh, Congress’s Rajeev Satav and CPM’s KK Ragesh are among the eight suspended MPs.

Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh is at the centre of the controversy as the opposition moved a no-confidence motion against him which was later rejected by the speaker, and as he himself went to protesting MPs with tea on Tuesday morning, which the MPs rejected.

The leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Congress’ Gulam Nabi Azad spelt out three demands centred on ensuring that the minimum support price (MSP) is not weakened, and their “request” of revoking the suspension of the eight members. The leader also demanded that the government  brings a bill which should ensure private players don’t procure food grains below the MSP fixed by the government. The MSP, as per opposition’s demand, should be based on the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan committee report. The final demand put forth by the opposition is hat the government or the Food Corporation Of India ensure that crops are procured from the farmers at the fixed minimum support price.


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