Farm laws issue rocks Lok Sabha; Oppn demands separate discussion

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New Delhi, Feb 3 (PTI) Lok Sabha proceedings were adjourned repeatedly on Wednesday as the protesting opposition members demanded a separate discussion on the farm laws issue.

As the House met at 4 PM, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury tried to raise the issue of farmers' agitation against the agri laws, saying the matter is harming the image of the country.

'We are concerned,' he said.

Several opposition members trooped into the Well, protesting against the farm laws. Urging the members to return to their seats, Speaker Om Birla said they should maintain the dignity of the House or else he will have to take disciplinary action.

He said the Question Hour is important and it should go on.

But the opposition members refused to relent, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 4.30 PM.

The House reassembled thrice, only to again adjourn till 5 PM, then 7 PM and later till 9 PM as the opposition continued its protest despite repeated assurances by the Speaker that the members will get adequate opportunity to put forward their views.

When the House met at 4.30 PM, Chowdhury demanded a separate discussion on the Presidential address and the farmers' issue.

Birla urged AAP leader Bhagwant Mann and others to go to their seats if they want a discussion. But the opposition members did not pay heed to his requests, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings again till 5 PM.

Similar scenes were witnessed when the proceedings resumed, with many slogan-shouting opposition members entering the Well again.

After various documents were tabled, the Speaker requested the agitating members to return to their seats as he wanted to start the Zero Hour, saying it is important to talk about the problems faced by the people in the members' constituencies.

However, the sloganeering continued. Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal was also in the Well, holding a poster against the farm laws.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said he had discussions with the leaders of opposition parties and they had agreed to start the discussion on the motion thanking the President for his address.

'Now, they have made a U-turn and that is also like an insult to the President,' Joshi said.

There were more than 20 members, including from the Congress, DMK, AAP and the SAD, protesting in the Well.

Amid the din, Birla adjourned the House till 7 PM and later till 9 PM.

Several farmer unions have been staging protests at various border points of Delhi since late November demanding the repeal of the farm laws. PTI RR SID RAM NAB ACB PR RT