(Eds: adds details) Mumbai, Sep 22 (PTI) Expressing concern over Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh 'not allowing' opposition MPs to put forth their views on farm bills, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said he has never seen presiding officers behave in such a manner with House members.
Talking to reporters, the former Union agriculture minister also objected to the manner in which farm bills were passed in Rajya Sabha on Sunday amid Opposition protests.
The Rajya Sabha member said he is observing a fast on Tuesday in support of eight MPs who were suspended from the Upper House for the remaining part of the current session over their 'misconduct' with the deputy chairman during the passage of the farm bills.
The bills were not required to be passed in one go and could have been discussed separately, Pawar said.
'Members like me expected that the chairman, the deputy chairman or those in the chair would look at the issue seriously and give the members opportunities to express their views. But it did not happen,' he said.
Opposition members conveyed to the deputy chairman that he did not go by the rules when the bills came up for discussion in Rajya Sabha, Pawar said.
'It was expected from the deputy chairman to at least listen to rules which the members were referring to,' he said.
'But it did not happen and immediately voting was held, that too by voice...Hence, the members reacted sharply, Pawar said.
'I have worked for over 50 years in the legislatures of Maharashtra and the country. But I have never seen the presiding officers behave thus with members,' he said.
Pawar said the developments which took place in the Rajya Sabha over the past two days were not seen in the past.
He said it was said about the deputy chairman that he follows the ideology of late Karpuri Thakur, a senior leader from Bihar who was considered as an expert of Parliamentary democracy and rights.
But Harivansh ignored all these ideologies and the members were suspended and their rights were snatched, Pawar said.
Referring to the sit-in protest by the eight MPs near Mahatma Gandhis statue in Parliament complex, Pawar said the members expressed their sentiments in a peaceful manner.
'I heard on TV that the deputy chairman offered them tea. I am happy that the members did not accept the same and continued their fast (protest). It is said it was some kind of Gandhigiri. But I have never seen such insult of Gandhis ideology before this, he added.
Pawar said that he learnt on Tuesday about the eight MPs giving up food as part of their protest.
'The deputy chairmans approach towards the House and (opposition) members wasone of devaluing the reputation of the House and the post. Hence, I am joining them in the protest and will not consume food for the day,' he said. PTI ENM VT VT VT