India

Parliament proceedings | We have become the internet shutdown capital of the world: Anand Sharma


Both Houses of Parliament will be continuing the debate on Motion of Thanks to President’s address for the third day on Friday.

The debate largely focused on farmers’ protest.

Here are the latest updates:

11.30 am

Samsher Singh Manhas, BJP MP from Jammu and Kashmir, says his State has been fully integrated with the nation only after Article 370 was abrogated.

11.15 am

We have become the internet shutdown capital of the world: Anand Sharma

Anand Sharma

Anand Sharma  

 

Congress deputy floor leader Anand Sharma is the next speaker.  He rues President’s speech failed to mention the plight of migrant workers during lockdown.

On one side there is a protest going on, the President’s address praises the farm laws.

It is the right of people to protest against acts that might be against them. It is the duty of the government to listen to them, he says.

We have become the internet shutdown capital of the world, he says.  You compare yourselves with USA. They provided financial support to their citizens during lockdown. But you have provided stimulus to corporates, he says.

It is not V-Shaped recovery. It is K-shaped, he says.

“Why did you bring the farm laws using the ordinance route. Article 123 of the Constitution says that the President has to be satisfied that there were compelling reason to bring the ordinance. You brought the ordinance during the pandemic. You didn’t speak to state government, didn’t send it to committee. And then you ask why are people protesting?”

I appeal with folded-hands, withdraw these laws, he says.

The constitutionality of these laws is questionable. Agriculture is in the state list not in centre or concurrent list, he says.

He slams the courts for delaying decisions on major issues.

10.45 am

Nominated Member Rakesh Sinha narrates his interaction with the villagers of a border village in Meghalaya, which he has adopted. He says people are happy with Modi’s public distribution system.

He lauds government’s decision to award Padma Awards to grassroots heroes.

Hitting out at Opposition, Mr. Sinha lists all ‘draconian’ laws enacted by Congress.

10.30 am

Bajwa compares barricades with Berlin wall

Pratap Singh Bajwa, Congress MP, speaks in Punjabi. He claims the farm Bills were passed in the House in an undemocratic manner. We were not even given the opportunity to seek division, he says.

He accuses the government to use back-door entry to enact the laws at a time when the country was grappling with COVID-19, and lockdown.

The farmers are protesting on their own. They are collecting money from their fellow villagers to fund the protest. We fed the Bangladesh prisoners of war for two years. But you are not giving water to our own farmers. The barricades of Ghazipur looks like Berlin Wall, he says.

“Is this world’s biggest Democracy? These are the scenes from Afghanistan, in Saddam’s Iraq, in Libya.”

You claim that you will keep the laws in abeyance for 18 months. If you are ready to keep it in abeyance then why not repeal it, he says.

This is the opportunity Prime Minister Narendra Modi to turn into a statesman. To become a second Sardar Patel. Go to Delhi’s borders, meet the farmers and tell them you will repeal the Bills, he says.

He seeks a Supreme Court monitored time-bound enquiry to find out who asked the farmers to change the tractor rally route.

Vice President thanks Mr. Bajwa in Punjabi. “Your language, our language,” he says.

10.10 am

Since 2002, govt. were pushing for farm reforms: Sahasrabuddhe

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe in Rajya Sabha.

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe in Rajya Sabha.  

 

Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (BJP) speaks in favour of the Motion.

On farmers’ protests, he says: “Everyone tells us that we should leave our arrogance. But they forget that since 2002 the governments have been working on these lines. It is nothing new. We are ready for talks. We even offered to put it in abeyance for 18 months. If we are showing so much flexibility why don’t they show similar flexibility.”

Do we want a civil war? The Parliament should not be taken for granted. These laws were cleared by the Parliament, he says.

He lauds Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s diplomacy pitch for a ‘G All’ on global issues.

9.50 am

‘We were at the forefront of the freedom struggle and today we are being branded as Khalistanis’

Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of the Akali Dal addressing the Rajya Sabha on February 5, 2021.

Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of the Akali Dal addressing the Rajya Sabha on February 5, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: RSTV

 

Sardar Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of the Akali Dal said, “When the Ordinances where issued, I wrote to the PM saying that these laws are against the farmers and the Ordinances should be withdrawn. This agitation has got support from the entire nation and even internationally. They claim that only Punjab farmers are agitating. Let me tell you, when the nation went looking for grains all the way to America, it was Punjab that produced grains, enough to feed us and even to export.”

“The entire Opposition is speaking in one voice against the laws but the government refuses to pay heed,” he said.

“We were at the forefront of the freedom struggle and today we are being branded as Khalistanis,” Mr. Dhindsa said.

“I want to comment about the media. On January 26, Ram Mandir tableau marched in the parade. A channel without any evidence claimed that Sikh persons have damaged the tableau. The attempt was to drive a wedge between Hindus and Sikhs,” he said

– Sobhana K. Nair

9.45 am

‘Reinstate MPLADS funds’

Abdul Wahab of the IUML raises the issue of Siddique Kappan’s arrest, asks that he be released.

“Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLAD) funds are the only thing that provides us (Rajya Sabha Members) some credibility. You suspended MPLADS fund for two years but we haven’t got the money for the previous year too,” Mr. Wahab said.

“I don’t know whether the PM has privately taken the vaccine. I request, that lawmakers should also be inoculated at the earliest,” Mr. Wahad said, addng he is a COVID-19 survivor himself.

– Sobhana K. Nair

9.35 am

‘Even the Indo-Pak border doesn’t have such fortification’

Satish Chandra Mishra of the BSP said, “To stop the farmers’ movement you have dug up ditches. Let me tell you, you are digging these ditches for yourself. You have laid down spikes on the road. Even the Indo-Pak border doesn’t have such fortification. If you are ready to put these laws in abeyance for 18-months, then why not put these laws away for good? Why don’t you put your ego aside?”

“If you want to give MSP, then why not put that down in print, in the law? The very people you are bringing the law for are saying they don’t want it. And you are insisting on imposing it on them,” he said.

– Sobhana K. Nair

9.30 am

‘If anyone speaks the truth, they are branded as traitors’

Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena said: “Yesterday, Dharmendra Pradhan said, ‘listen to the truth’. For the last six years, we have been hearing falsehoods which have been paraded as truths. Today, if anyone speaks the truth, he is branded as a traitor.”

Mr. Raut named AAP MP Sanjay Singh, Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor to question why they were being branded as traitors. “May be the government has removed all penal sections from the CrPC except for sedition,” he said.

“It is not right for the country that our government is conspiring to malign the farmers’ movement. We are all ashamed by the incidents of January 26. But who is Deep Sidhu, the man responsible for the incident? So many of the farmers are missing since January 26. We don’t know whether the police have killed them in an encounter,” he said.

“Who is a nationalist? Arnab Goswami? Kangana Ranaut? Goswami broke the Official Secrets aAct. He knew beforehand about the Balakot attack. But you are sheltering him,” he said.

“The farmers of Punjab, Haryana and Western U.P. are fighting on behalf of farmers from across the nation. They are not traitors. They are not Khalistanis,” he said.

– Sobhana K. Nair

9.20 am

‘Sharad Pawar’s 2007 letter to CMs being needlessly raked up’

Praful Patel of the NCP said, “Centre and States have together fought the COVID-19 pandemic along with the frontline medical workers. I thank them all 1.55 lakh people died in the pandemic and if we were to compare the mortality rate with the other countries we are definitely better placed.”

“Why is our farmer feeling insecure? We need to think about it. We welcome the fact that you are thinking about the progress of farmers. The entire Opposition had urged the government to send the laws to a Select Committee. What was the hurry? If widespread consultations were held, we would not be seeing the spectacle that we are witnessing right now,” Mr. Patel said.

“Many a times a letter of Sharad Pawar has been brought up – the 2007 letter that he wrote to Chief Ministers sending in a model Bill. Eventually, the Bill never came to the Parliament. But the government is needlessly raking up the issue. The model law circulated by Sharad Pawar had more participation from farmers,” Mr. Patel said, listing out the differences between the two laws.

– Sobhana K. Nair

9.10 am

‘Don’t blame God’

Binoy Viswam, CPI, said: “I would like to remind the government of what happened during the locldown. Remember the Railway track where a group of migrant workers were run over in Aurangabad? It is wrong to say that the government did a lot for the migrant. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman called COVID-19 an Act of God. Under the BJP, economy has been in shambles even before the pandemic began.”

“I am a non-believer, but I believe in the true believers of all religions. So, I believe that God cannot be so cruel. God was not the culprit. Don’t blame the God,” he said.

The rescue package announced by the Finance Minister didn’t reach the people. It was just a gimmick. The package was for ₹20 lakh crore but I am sure the actual expenditure was just 2 lakh crore. We need Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme,” Mr. Viswam said.

– Sobhana K. Nair

9 am

253rd Session of the Rajya Sabha convenes

Rajya Sabha MPs Mary Kom (nominated), K.K. Ragesh (CPI(M)) and Oscar Fernandes(Congress) have sought leave.

Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said some of the Members exceeded their time. “So the time will be reduced from their party’s qouta.”

When Members start complaining, Mr. Naidu said, “I am not going to bargain.”

The discussion on Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address is scheduled end today.

– Sobhana K. Nair

Agenda

Both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha will hold a discussion on Motion of Thanks on the President’s address.

On February 3, five extra hours were added to the duration of discussion in Rajya Sabha on the motion thanking the President for his address to the joint sitting of Parliament to allow debate on the farmers’ protest against the three agri-reform legislations.

Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned four times yesterday amid uproar by opposition members over the three new farm laws.



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