Eight Indian parliamentarians were suspended on Monday while protesting Sunday’s passage of two contentious farm bills. Chairman of the House M. Venkaiah Naidu, while announcing their suspension, said their action “defies logic. It is a bad day for the Rajya Sabha”.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday praised the Deputy Chairperson of the parliament’s upper house for bringing tea from home for the eight lawmakers who were staging a sit-in outside the Parliament House overnight.
These parliamentarians were suspended on Monday for their unruly behaviour, as they had heckled Harivansh, the deputy chairperson of the Indian parliament’s upper house Rajya Sabha, during the passage of two farm bills on Sunday.
The same deputy chairperson surprised them during their sit-in protest on Tuesday morning by bringing a cup of tea from his home. Harivansh personally offered tea to the lawmakers, but they politely refused it.
The eight suspended lawmakers initially protested inside Parliament against the action taken against them, but continued it outside the building overnight.
Twitterati, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were in awe of Harivansh’s gesture.
To personally serve tea to those who attacked and insulted him a few days ago as well as those sitting on Dharna shows that Shri Harivansh Ji has been blessed with a humble mind and a big heart. It shows his greatness. I join the people of India in congratulating Harivansh Ji.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 22, 2020
For centuries, the great land of Bihar has been teaching us the values of democracy. In line with that wonderful ethos, MP from Bihar and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson Shri Harivansh Ji’s inspiring and statesman like conduct this morning will make every democracy lover proud.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh meets the eight suspended unruly Rajya Sabha MPs who are protesting against him and serve them Tea and snacks..
This is the Beauty of Indian Democracy pic.twitter.com/8pi1tTjyo6
— Rishi Bagree (@rishibagree) September 22, 2020
Tea was refused, now a hurt Harivansh ji will be on day-long fast. Gandhigiri from both sides now!
— Aman Sharma (@AmanKayamHai_ET) September 22, 2020
Rajya Sabha Deputy chairperson Harivansh returned with his tea as protesting suspended MPs who spent the night in the open, refused his generous offer of having tea with them…..
— Nagendar Sharma (@sharmanagendar) September 22, 2020
Harivansh also observed a 24-hour fast from Monday morning until Tuesday morning as a sign of protest against the unruly behaviour of lawmakers.
The suspended lawmakers were Rajeev Satva, Syed Naseer Hussain and Rupun Bora of the main opposition Congress party, Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen of the regional All India Trinamool Congress, Sanjay Singh of the regional Aam Aadmi Party, and K.K. Ragesh and Elamaram Kareem of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
Sanjay Singh, one of the suspended lawmakers said they have told the Deputy Chairperson, when he visited them outside Parliament on Tuesday morning that he was also responsible for passage of the anti-farmer legislation, flouting the rules of the House.
उपसभापति जी सुबह धरना स्थल पर मिलने आये हमने उनसे भी कहा “नियम क़ानून संविधान को ताक़ पर रखकर किसान विरोधी काला क़ानून बिना वोटिंग के पास किया गया जबकि BJP अल्पमत में थी और आप भी इसके लिये ज़िम्मेदार हैं” pic.twitter.com/Q6QYl15y0B
— Sanjay Singh AAP (@SanjayAzadSln) September 22, 2020
The two Bills – the 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 to replace two corresponding ordinances brought by the federal government, when the parliament was not in session.
Opposition parties alleged the proposed legislation would give powers to corporate firms and farmers would be deprived of a fair price for their produce.
Their main contention was that the minimum support price for the agricultural produce would end, placing the farmers at the mercy of private procurement agencies. The government, on the other hand, said it would bring major reforms in the lives of farmers.