As the 'unruly behaviour' of the Rajya Sabha lawmakers over two contentious farm bills snowballed into a major tussle between the Centre and Opposition, Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh accepted that he had climbed on the table of the House on Sunday and even broke the mic. But Singh explained that it was to "safeguard democracy".
"Yes, I accept that I had climbed on the table. Yes, I accept that I broke the mike. However, whatever I did was to safeguard democracy. First, let the government apologise, bring the Bill back to the House and ensure there is division of votes. The government has committed a sin and strangulated democracy," he told News18.
Opposition members, objecting to the manner in which the two farm bills were being passed, had on Sunday stormed the well of the House and when their demand for voting wasn't met, they tore papers, climbed on tables, shouted slogans, and allegedly threw the rule book at Harivansh, who was presiding at that time.
CNN-News18's Rupashree Nanda spoke to Sanjay Singh on the issue of farm bills, protest by Opposition and their future course of action. Here are edited excerpts from the interview:
When Venkaiah Naidu spoke today, he said that none of the MPs had expressed any regret. Would you agree that perhaps the manner of your protest was wrong?
See, MPs are not mentally deprived neither are they mad. They are responsible members of the country 's Parliament. MPs were waiting that the government will do justice, and run the House according to the Law and Constitution. See, how all the rules were flouted. MPs were asking for voting on this bill, but government was not willing, the Chair was not willing. The government should be ashamed, apologise to crores of farmers that they did not put the bill to vote and passed it despite being in minority. BJP strangulated democracy and passed this bill. It is the government that should be ashamed, should have regret. They should cover their faces in black.
Yes, I accept that I had climbed on the table. Yes, I accept that I broke the mike. However, whatever I did was to safeguard democracy, they are the ones who were murdering democracy. They passed an anti-farmers bill, a black bill forcibly. Along with Trichi Siva, many MPs were demanding for division of votes from their chairs, and this is the law and tradition, even if one person asks, voting has to happen. However, BJP did not have the numbers. This bill would not have passed. What else could we have done?
What you are saying is your point of view. But the government also has its own point of view. Venkaiah Naidu has also cited rules and has said that division of votes can still happen?
Let the government get the bills back into the House get the division of votes done. We are ready for that. Everything will be clear then. AIADMK, BJD wanted the bills to be refered to select comm. TRS was with us.
Congress (40), TMC (13), BJD (9), AIADMK (9), SP (8), TRS (7), RJD (5), NCP (4), BSP (4), AAP (3), SAD (3), Shiv Sena (3), CPI-M (5), CPI-1, DMK (7), IUML (1), PDP (2), JMM-1, Kerala Cong-1, MDMK-1, JDS-1, LJD-1 and TDP-1 were all opposed to the Bills during the debate.
You protested inside the House as well as outside. What did your protest achieve? The bills were passed anyway.
If the government strangulates democracy and becomes shameless, has no regard for Constitution, Law and Rules cheat farmers, what can one do? Whatever maximum we could have done, we did., we protested. We can look at the farmers in the eye and say that we fought as much as could. We will not be ashamed. We do not go to Parliament to show our faces. We go to raise voice of the kisan, youth, aam aadmi. And in front us this black bill was passed in an undemocratic fashion, even though the Government did not have the numbers and was in minority.
Would you consider apologising?
First let the government apologise, bring the bill back to the House, ensure there is division of votes, government has committed a sin, strangulated democracy. Are you saying that someone will strangulate you and you will not even whimper?
How will you carry this struggle forward? So many opposition parties came together on this. How will take this forward so that your objections are addressed?
Our party is already agitating in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Yesterday, our karyakartas were beaten up mercilessly. We will take the fight to the streets. You cannot play such tricks on the farmers. This is the same government — now they are announcing that they will give MSP?
Modiji had promised in 2014 that 50% over cost price will be given to farmers. Wonder, why the media does not remember that? And then, the same government went back on it in the Supreme Court. In six years, has any media put this question to the government.
So you do not have confidence in the promises of the government?
Why should even you have confidence in the government? On GST, they said 'one nation, ome tax', today they are not giving the state's share, instead of the promised two crore jobs, created an army of 12 crore unemployed was created. Demonetisation was supposed to change the fate of the country, neither black money or terrorism ended. So, what has been the result of their big promises? And I am asking, in this entire farm law , why was MSP not mentioned.