RS Video of Farm Bills Vote Contrasts With Govt Version of Events

CPM’s KK Ragesh alleged that the deputy chairman had violated House rules by declining division of votes.

3 min read
The Indian Parliament. Image used for representation.

The government had claimed that rules were followed during the voting of farm bills in Rajya Sabha on 20 September. Deputy Chairman Harivansh said that the demand for voting wasn’t made by members from their respective seats.

During the ruckus in the House, the deputy chairman was heard saying that members have to be in their seats to demand a division of votes.

However, official footage of Rajya Sabha TV, accessed by NDTV, shows otherwise.

The footage shows that on two instances, two members – DMK’s Tiruchi Siva and CPM’s KK Ragesh – were in their seats during the call for division of votes. This is in contrast with what the government said had happened.


What Rajya Sabha Footage TV Shows

According to an Indian Express report, at 1:00 pm, Deputy Chairman Harivansh told Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, who was at that time responding to the discussion on the farm bills, that it was 1:00 pm. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi then proposed an extension of the House.

The deputy chairman then asks whether the House was ready to sit till the disposal of the Bill. The opposition MPs demanded that the proceedings be continued on Monday. Following this, the deputy chairman says there is consensus (aam sahmati) to extend the session and asks Tomar to continue. At this point, Opposition MPs rush into the well of the House, shouting slogans, The Indian Express reported.

At 1:03 pm, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said that if the House is to be extended, then it should be “done on the basis of consensus”. He further stated that “Opposition parties are saying that time should not be extended today and tomorrow the minister can reply.”

At 1:07 pm, the deputy chairman begins disposing statutory resolutions before the passage of the Bill, amid ruckus created by the Opposition MPs.

As per NDTV, two-three MPs who had moved the motion to send the Bills to a select committee were in their seats when they demanded a division of votes.

At 1:10 pm, Trichy Siva was seen in his seat when deputy chairman took his motion for sending the bill to the select committee. Siva demanded division of votes but the motion was negated through a voice vote.

At around 1:12 pm, Siva can be seen tearing a paper from his seat. At 1:14 pm, the audio of Rajya Sabha TV goes off, and at 1:26 pm, th House is adjourned for 15 minutes.

CPM’s KK Ragesh told NDTV that the government’s allegations that the MPs were not in their seats while demanding division of votes was a lie.

He further stated that the House rules were violated. The deputy chairman rejected Ragesh’s demand for division, saying that he wasn’t in his seat.

“Both my constitutional and House rights were denied. The truth is the government didn't have numbers,” he said.


What Happened During the Passing of Farm Bills?

The passage of three contentious farm bills were at the centre of attention this Monsoon Session. The controversy first erupted on 17 September, when two of these bills were passed in the Lok Sabha, even as Harsimrat Kaur Badal – a member of BJP’s ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and a minister in the Modi cabinet – resigned from the government.

Then, on 20 September, the Farmers’ and Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, were passed in the Rajya Sabha by voice vote, even as the Opposition claimed to have demanded a division of votes.

This resulted in a ruckus, with several members reportedly marching into the well of the House and raising slogans.

Though, the deputy chairman and the government have justified the voice vote, saying the Opposition members weren't in their seats when they demanded physical voting.

(With inputs from NDTV and Indian Express)

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