Opposition to boycott Rajya Sabha till 3 “key demands” are met with

The Opposition parties on Tuesday said they would boycott the Rajya Sabha proceedings till three key demands were met with, including revoking the suspension of eight members. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad — who is the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha — announced this after Zero Hour today.

He also demanded that the government should bring a bill to ensure private players are unable to procure foodgrains below the minimum support price fixed by the government. The third demand was for the MSP to be based on the MS Swaminathan committee report.

Meanwhile, the suspended members continued their sit-in on the lawns of Parliament complex after spending the night there following their suspension. They have announced an “indefinite” protest. The MPs include Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien and Dola Sen, Congress’ Rajeev Satav, CPM’s KK Ragesh and Aam Admi Party’s Sanjay Singh.

They were suspended for “unruly behaviour” in the Rajya Sabha when the controversial farm bills were being passed on Sunday. The deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha has been accused by the Opposition of rushing through the farm bills without following the Parliamentary procedure that allows voting, for the bills to be referred to a select committee for review. Neither were they allowed to be extended for discussion on Monday. The bills were passed with a voice vote without clearing the Opposition demand for a physical voting and a division of votes. Opposing this, some members climbed on to the secretary general’s table, displayed angrily the rulebook, and some tore copies of the bills while some others pulled out microphones.

On Tuesday morning, Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson Harivansh, went to them to offer tea but the “tea diplomacy” was turned down. Later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted in support of the deputy chairperson, who later expressed his anguish at the turn of events and declared he would be on a day-long fast.

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