Rajya Sabha truce: Azad for repeal of farm laws, restoring statehood to J&K
Rajya Sabha truce: Azad for repeal of farm laws, restoring statehood to J&K

New Delhi

Unlike the entire day on Tuesday washed out in pandemonium, a truce between the Government and the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, with its Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu allowing the MPs to raise the agitating farmers’ issues, resulted in the daylong discussion on Wednesday on the motion of thanks to the President for his address last Friday. Both sides also agreed to increase time for discussion to 15 hours to incorporate the farmers’ demand for repeal of the farm laws.

The Lok Sabha was, however, not back to normal as the Opposition members kept raising slogans against the contentious farm laws and forced Speaker Om Birla to repeatedly adjourn the Hou­se. Congress group leader Adhir Ranjan Chowudhry insisted on a separate debate on the farmers’ issue and did not agree to mix it with the debate on motion of thanks to the President as in the RS.

Braving the loud slogans, Parliamentary Minister Pralhad Joshi referred to the agreement reached in the Upper House and a similar agreement in a meeting chaired by the Speaker, just before the Lower House was adjourned for 2 hours till 7 pm, dubbing attempts to block debate on the motion an “insult” of the President.

Three Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MPs, including their leader Sanjay Singh, who refused the truce and kept disrupting proceedings over the contentious farm laws, were marshalled out of the Rajya Sabha before it could start the discussion on a motion by Bhuvnesh Kalita, a prominent Congress face who defected to the BJP and seconded by the BJP’s UP MP Vijay Pal Singh Tomar.

Highlight of the discussion in the Rajya Sabha was an emotive appeal by Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, the former J&K CM, to bring a Bill for restoration of the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and then hold fresh Assembly poll in the state.

PM Modi usually does not sit through the lengthy debates, but he made it a point to stay put in the House to hear out Azad, who said: “If J&K has to progress and we have to fight out enemies (Pakistan and China) at the borders, we need to take into confidence our own people, give them love and allow the political activities.”

On the farmers’ issues, Azad directly addressed the PM, reminding him of the agitation by the farmers in his Gujarat before the Independence and how the farmers have always won for time immemorial, including during the era of Sardar Patel.

He urged the government to better take back the 3 farm laws and condemned the Republic Day incidents at the Red Fort, seeking strict action against those involved. “Farmers are ours, not of the Congress, but of you and all of us. We are with you when it comes to fighting against China and Pakistan. But why fight the farmers,” he asked.

“We condemn whatever ha­p­pened at Red Fort on January 26. Those involved should be given strict punishment. But those who are innocent must not be implicated with false cases as witnessed in the past few days,” Azad said.

“I never heard (ex-PM) AB Vajpayee or any BJP leader (before the Modi govt), who ever demanded J&K should be split into two. There was a demand for a UT in only one district of Ladakh (Leh), not Kargil,” Azad said.

Rajya Sabha truce: Azad for repeal of farm laws, restoring statehood to J&K

What message to China: Rahul

NEW DELHI: Two days after the Union Budget presented to Parliament, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday regretted a wrong message going out to China that it won't increase the expenditure on India's defence as the defence budget is nowhere to challenge China busy seizing the Indian territories on the borders.

“You raised it by Rs3-4,000 crore. What message did you give? That you can enter India and do whatever you want, we won't support our defence forces," he told a press conference, dubbing Rs1.35 lakh crore capital budget in the Rs4.78 lakh crore-defence budget to buy new weapons, aircraft, warships and other military hardware as too little. “What kind of patriotism is it that our army is braving the cold in Ladakh and you are not giving them enough resources. What kind of nationalism is this,” he asked, adding: “How will our soldiers in Ladakh, our Airforce pilots feel today?”

Rahul said: “Commitment of our forces is cent-percent and so should be the govt’s commitment. The govt must give whatsoever our army wants, our Air Force wants and our Navy wants."

On the farmers’ issue, he said: “Delhi is surrounded by farmers today. They give us sustenance, they work for us. Why is Delhi being converted into a fortress? Are farmers your enemies? Why is the govt threatening, beating and killing our farmers? Why is the govt not talking to our farmers, resolving this.”

In Parliament

-- Naidu warns Rajya Sabha MPs against recording proceedings on mobile phones

-- Illegal Rohingya immigrants in 12 states, UTs: Govt to RS

-- Crimes against SCs, STs increased in 2019: Govt to RS

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