‘Dignity of the Chair devalued’


Extending support to the protest launched by Opposition MPs against the conduct of Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh in the passage of two farm Bills, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said Mr. Harivansh had devalued the dignity of the Chair by not adhering to the rule book and hastily clearing the Bills.

“The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha should have listened to the protesting MPs who were showing him the rule book and demanding vote on those Bills. But he did not and instead rushed ahead with voice vote. It was obvious that the MPs were outraged,” he said, adding that the strong reaction against such behaviour was expected.

At a press conference here, the former Union Agriculture Minister said the behaviour of Mr. Harivansh had lowered the dignity of the Chair. “In my 50-years of parliamentary career, never have I seen such behaviour from the Chair. It devalued the dignity of the Chair. The same Deputy Chairman who did not follow rules went to meet the protesting MPs with tea. I am happy that none of the protesters had touched that tea.” He said as a mark of camaraderie to the protesting MPs, he was keeping a day-long fast.

Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauding Mr. Singh’s gesture of bringing tea by invoking the latter’s home State Bihar, Mr. Pawar said, “Even people of Bihar will not like his behaviour. It is surprising to me that the Deputy Chairman claims to belong to the legacy of greats like Karpoori Thakur. It doesn’t matter where a person comes from, what matters is your behaviour.”

Asked about the NCP MPs boycotting the Rajya Sabha which is seen as indirect support to the BJP to pass the Bills, Mr. Pawar said he was in Mumbai on Sunday to discuss legal points regarding the State government’s petition in the Supreme Court to vacate the stay on the Maratha reservation. “I was working along with the Chief Minister and others on that but was keeping a watch on the Rajya Sabha proceedings. Members wanted to express their opinions and despite that those Bills were pushed ahead,” he said, adding that the NCP MPs had never supported them as being said in media reports.

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