No-trust motion moved against RS dy chairman
As many as 100 members from 12 opposition parties moved a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh on Sunday, shortly after the House passed two key bills aimed at ushering in agricultural reforms. Harivansh was re-elected as the deputy chairperson on September 14, when the House convened after a six-month break following the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
While the two farm bills were passed through a voice vote, the opposition claimed that the due process of allowing a detailed discussion on the bills was not followed. A ruckus erupted in the Upper House soon after the deputy chairman, who was presiding over the proceedings, took the decision to put the bills to vote even as opposition members demanded more time to discuss the legislation, which they wanted to be scrutinised by a select committee.
The signatories to the no-confidence motion included MPs from the Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) , Trinamool Congress (TMC), Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party (SP), Communist Party of India,Communist Part of India (Marxist), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
“This day will go down in history as a black day. The way these bills have been passed goes against democratic processes and amounts to killing democracy,” senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel told reporters outside Parliament.
“The deputy chairman should safeguard the democratic traditions but instead he harmed the democratic traditions and processes. So, we have decided to move a no-confidence motion against him,” he added.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed that no bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha. “The government is claiming that the bills were passed by the Rajya Sabha. It’s black day for democracy. Whoever was present in the House knows that no such bill was passed. This is death and murder of democracy,” he added.
Singhvi said the minister started replying to the debate at 12.45 pm, 15 minutes before the House was scheduled to be adjourned for the day. “It is not possible to end the debate within 15 minutes without division and pass the bill by 1.15 pm. Not one but at least 10 members demanded division. Why was no division allowed? Many members had also moved amendments. Not one was allowed to speak. So, how did this bill get passed? Was there any magic wand,” he said.
The opposition is also planning to move the court against the legislation. “These are unconstitutional bills. These are against the Constitutional provisions. I am sure that these unconstitutional legislation will not only be challenged but will be quashed by the Supreme Court,” Singhvi said.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for its part, said the opposition was trying to stall business and created the ruckus because it was not confident about the numbers. “They could have pressed for division, but they lacked confidence. It was shameful conduct and they should apologise for their behaviour in the House,” BJP MP Bhupender Yadav said.
Addressing the media, defence minister Rajnath Singh said it is the prerogative of the chairman of the RajyaSabha to look into the no-confidence motion against the deputy chairperson.
“The farmers grow gold from land, but the arrogance of the Modi government is making farmers shed tears of blood. Democracy has been shamed by the manner in which the government passed death warrants against farmers in the form of two farm bills in Rajya Sabha,” tweeted former Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
PDT Acharya, a former Lok Sabha secretary general, said there is no precedent of a motion of no-confidence against the deputy chair.
“As far as I know, there has been no such motion against the deputy chair in the Rajya Sabha. As per the constitutional provision, the notice period for such a motion is 14 days; which means if it is submitted today, it can be taken up after 14 days. Now if the house adjourns before that, we don’t know if the notice can be kept alive till the House reconvenes,” he said,