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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Parliament highlights: Oppn MPs slam govt over handling of pandemic, ‘unplanned’ lockdown

The Rajya Sabha witnessed tumultuous scenes during the passage of the contentious farm bills as members from Opposition parties snatched and threw papers from the table and even broke the chairman’s mic.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 21, 2020 9:19:08 am
Parliamentarians in Lok Sabha during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament, in New Delhi. (Photo: LSTV/PTI)

During a discussion under Rule 193 on Covid-19 pandemic in Lok Sabha, Opposition parties slammed the government over tackling of Covid situation and ‘unplanned’ lockdown. Observing that most of the countries have either managed to keep the spread of the disease under control at the cost of their economy or have kept the economy running while suffering the onslaught of the disease, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, “India has become the poster child of the worst case scenario (of the pandemic).

DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran criticised the government and the Prime Minister for imposing lockdown abruptly within four hours of announcement. Describing the hardships faced by the common people and the migrants, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant said, “After the announcement of lockdown, Mumbai streets saw more people than number of people who would have come to streets post-Partition. But the govt did not start trains. People were mowed down by (goods) trains on railway tracks. Somewhere, we made mistakes.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday termed the behaviour of the opposition MPs in Rajya Sabha “saddening, unfortunate and shameful”. Briefing the press on farm bills and Rajya Sabha ruckus, Singh said he is hurt by the way the members of opposition parties flouted the Parliament decorum by tearing off the rule book and breaking microphones. Observing that attempts are being made to mislead the farmers on the farm bills on the basis of rumours, Singh said, “This is not the way a health democracy works.”

Opposition parties on Sunday moved a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh after he overruled opposition pleas for postponing Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s reply to the debate on the two farm bills till Monday as the scheduled sitting time of the House was over. The Upper House of Parliament passed 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, through voice vote.

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