He also said that Rajya Sabha has already passed the Motion of Thanks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply and “I appeal to members not to break this tradition in the Lok Sabha”. Singh said that members are free to speak on farm laws during the discussion on the Motion of Thanks. Congress Leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury too said that this tradition has been continuing since 1921 and should not be broken.
“Our demand was to discuss the issue of farmers who have been sitting in the cold on the borders of Delhi in protest against farm laws. It is regrettable that they are being stopped from entering the capital by sharp nails and barbed wires,” he said referring to the reinforced barricading at the farmers’ protest sites. He said the Opposition wanted an assurance from the government for a standalone discussion on the farmers’ issue either after the debate on Motion of Thanks or after the discussion on Budget. Speaker Om Birla also appealed to the members to allow the House to function and not indulge in sloganeering.
The House was repeatedly disrupted by the Opposition members from February 2 over the three farm laws which was passed by Parliament in September last year. Earlier Birla had called a meeting of leaders of different political parties to break the impasse in the House. In the meeting, an agreement was reached to resume its normal functioning with Singh making an appeal to start the debate on President’s address.
Earlier in the day, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at the opposition Congress over farm laws today, quoting former PM Manmohan Singh’s progressive views on the legislations, saying Congress should be proud he is forced to implement suggestions made by their leader. PM Modi was replying on the discussion on motion of thanks to President’s address. The discussion on the motion has been the main business transacted by the House over three days in which 50 members from 25 parties participated, an official statement said. The first six sittings of Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Budget session have proved productive with the House recording productivity of 82.10 per cent. During the sittings, the House witnessed a 15-hour debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President’s address in the upper House.
Against the total scheduled sitting time of 20 hours and 34 minutes, 4 hours 14 minutes were lost on February 3, due to disruption. The members, however, sat for extra 33 minutes beyond the business hours on Friday, the statement said. To enable extra time for discussion on the Motion of Thanks, Question Hour was dispensed with on February 3 while both the Question Hour and Zero Hour were shelved on the next two days. Private Members’ Business was not taken up on Friday.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021, seeking to replace the Ordinance in this regard, was also introduced during the week. The house also saw eight Zero Hour and seven Special Mentions made during the first week. The House will take up the discussion on the general budget for 2021-21 during the coming week for which 10 hours have been allotted.
President Ram Nath Kovind, in his address to the Parliament, had hailed the Centre’s efforts towards coronavirus vaccination, bringing farm laws for the benefits of farmers and Indian economy. He had also criticised the violence in Delhi on January 26, speaking about lessons on law and order from the Constitution. “The insult of the holy day like the tricolour and the Republic Day happened in the past is very unfortunate. The Constitution that gives us the right to freedom of expression, the same constitution teaches us that law and rule should be followed equally seriously,” he said.
The Opposition had boycotted the President’s speech in support of farmers who have been protesting for over two months against the farm laws enacted by the Centre.