Two farm bills were passed in the Rajya Sabha on 20 September, which led to an uproar in the Upper House.
While several parties in the Opposition raised slogans against the government's move, they seem to lack unity amongst themselves. For instance, when Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were opposing the bills, there was no coordination between them and the Congress, all the more because three are allies in Maharashtra.
Shiv Sena strongly criticised the bills in the House, and walked out of the House even before the bill was passed. According to reports, even NCP walked out of the Parliament, as it was also opposing the bills. The Quint spoke to both the parties on these issues.
Shiv Sena Want It Both Ways
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said in the House: “Can the government guarantee that farmers' suicides will stop once the bill is passed? Will farmers' income really double?” He also raised a question on the PM’s comment which said that “the MSP will not be closed.” He asked why did Minister Harsimrat Kaur resign from the post of Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing Industries if that was the case?
After seeing such determination, it seemed that the Shiv Sena would fight till the end to stop this bill, but they walked out before the decision was made.
When The Quint asked Sanjay Raut the reason for this, he said:
"“Shiv Sena never voted against the Agricultural Amendment Bill. We had to tell the government that before bringing such a bill, all the party leaders should to be taken into confidence.”" - Sanjay Raut, Rajya Sabha MP, Shiv Sena
However, the question arises is that, when Shiv Sena had no opposition to the content of the bill, why was Raut apprehensive about the MSP? If he feared that the MSP might end, why did he help the government by walking out?
After all, Maharashtra has frequent farmer suicides. As per the reports, Shiv Sena was approached by the government before the bill was brought in the house.
Adding to the Shiv Sena’s stand, some political experts stated that the Election Commission has given the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) the task of investigating the irregularities in the election affidavits of Uddhav and Aditya Thackeray. However, these are yet to be confirmed.
‘We Did Not Walkout, It’s Fake News’
Since the passing of the bill, there are reports that the NCP, who strongly opposed the bills, also walked out. But NCP leader Praful Patel told The Quint that NCP MPs were present in the Rajya Sabha and they dismissed the report.
"“There was an uproar in the Rajya Sabha. Had there been any voting, they would have voted against the Bill. We do not agree with the way the government has passed the Bill.” " - Praful Patel, NCP Leader
Lack of Coordination in Opposition
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is 24 seats away from majority in the Rajya Sabha. And, it is a challenge for the party to have any bill passed.
However, due to the lack of coordination amongst Opposition parties, the government managed to pass the bill. The Opposition stated that the manner in which the bills were passed is anti-democratic, while the government said that the Opposition has spoiled the dignity of the House, resulting in the suspension of eight MPs.
This article was originally published in Hindi Quint)
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