Rule book thrown at Chair, oppn protest, voice vote: Here is what exactly happened in Rajya Sabha as govt pushed for passage of agri Bills

The Rajya Sabha saw a massive ruckus on Sunday as the government sought to push the farm Bills amid opposition protest.

Two bills -- Farmer's Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 -- were passed by voice vote as the opposition alleged "death of democracy".

Here is what exactly happened in the Rajya Sabha during the proceedings to pass the two bills:

The opposition protest erupted after the Deputy Chairman sought a sense of the House and said that the sitting of the House is being extended beyond 1 pm till the completion of the Minister's reply. However, without hearing the response of the opposition members declared that there is "aam sahmati" (general consensus) on extending the sitting hours.

Despite repeated requests, many opposition parties reached the well of the house to agitate. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded that the discussion continue on Monday. "To decide this, we should go by the consensus of the members, not by the numbers of the ruling party," Azad said.

Opposition parties continued their protest and the Deputy Chairman ruled that only minister's reply will go on record.

The Minister, whose voice could hardly be heard amid the din, concluded his reply within a few minutes.

As the Deputy Chairman took the Bills for the passage, the protest by opposition members became louder and they started raising slogans against the government and against the bills.

Derek O'Brien of Trinamool Congress came near the podium and tried to show the rule book to the Deputy Chairman.

An aggressive O'Brien, approached the Chair and tore the documents in front of him calling the Bill "Kala Kanoon". He was also heard saying, "You cannot do this" to the chair. So much so the aide of the Deputy Chairperson who was conducting the house at that time, had to come to shield him.

Amid the ruckus, the Deputy Chairman who was taking up clause by clause passage of the Bill, decided not to proceed ahead. The audio of Rajya Sabha TV was apparently switched off at 1:04 pm for a few seconds.

The protest continued with opposition members also coming in the well towards the treasury benches. Several opposition members could be seen having heated argument with the BJP members.

Amid the din, the voice was again switched off at 1:14 pm and the House was adjourned at 1:26 pm. When the House met again at 1.41 pm, Deputy Chairman took up the Bills for passage amid opposition protest.

The House took up Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 for passage. Opposition members had pressed for the Bills to be sent to select committee.

The Chair kept reminding the memers that they cannot demand division of votes if they are in the well. However, the members kept protesting and the Bills were passed by voice vote.

The Bills have earlier been passed by the Lok Sabha.

(With agencies)

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Free Press Journal