A day after Rajya Sabha passed two farm Bills overruling vociferous protests by the Opposition, leaders of 18 parties on Monday approached President Ram Nath Kovind and urged him not to give his assent to the Bills, arguing that they were passed in a “tyrannical manner unknown to our Constitution”.
They sought his “active and vocal” intervention in the matter and told him that there was “absolute and total murder of democracy” in Parliament on Sunday.
“We pray that you exert all powers, constitutional and moral, as the head of our Republic, to ensure that such black law does not become Law and that such pernicious and despicable events do not sully the fair name of proud Indian democracy,” the parties said in a memorandum to the President.
The signatories included Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and top Opposition leaders like Congress’s Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh, SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, DMK’s Tiruchi Siva, CPM’s Elamaram Kareem, CPI’s Binoy Viswam, RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, NCP’s Praful Patel, AAP’s Sanjay Singh and TRS’s K Keshava Rao.
In the memorandum, the leaders said that on an issue affecting the farmers, “majoritarian, insensitive and uncaring governance has no role and all stakeholders have to listen, absorb, imbibe and thereafter act with humility. There is no place for the politics of zid and arrogance. Instead the voice of those speaking for farmers ought to be stifled. Most unfortunately, the latter was in full show with full force in government instructions to all, given with the brazen objective of ramming legislation down the throat of disagreeing parliamentarians without allowing it to be tested freely and fairly by vote by division.”
They said that the division asked by members was denied and motions and statutory resolutions, including for amendments, were not even looked at much less considered. The memorandum said the time of the sitting was extended without taking the sense of the House and then “massive show of force was exerted by security personnel invited inside the House in numbers exceeding those of the MPs present”.
“The egregious and brazen acts of the government, in clear collusion with the legislative organ of our Republic, is also proof positive of the lack of numbers and lack of support with the government qua passage of these Bills…,” the memorandum said.
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