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Shah's speech in RS disrupted by noisy TMC protests

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Vociferous protests by Trinamool members over NRC and other issues today disrupted BJP Amit Shah's speech on farmers' issues, forcing the premature adjournment of the

The House, which had functioned smoothly during the first half of the day, saw its proceedings disrupted soon after Shah initiated a short duration discussion on increase in MSP of kharif crops and challenges facing in the agriculture sector.

The was adjourned twice in quick succession after the lunch break before calling it a day, even after NDA allies and other opposition parties including Congress, BJD, SP, AIADMK, JD(U), among othersinsisted that the debate be continued.

Shah had spoken barely five minutes when his speech was disrupted by members who trooped into the Well raising slogans and demanding that their privilege notice under Rule 267 that prescribes suspension of all business to take up a matter, be admitted.

This prompted M Venkaiah to chide them and asking them not to disrupt the debate on a "burning issue".

Initiating the debate, the said the NDA government had taken several steps to boost agriculture and a huge budget has been allocated during the period 2014-2018.

"The budget for agriculture sector has been increased by 75 per cent in the last four years. During 2009-2014, the budget on agriculture was Rs 1,21,082 crore. It has been increased to Rs 2,11,394 in 2014-2018," he said.

The government has allocated Rs 5,000 crore for drip irrigation, Rs 10,000 crore for dairy, Rs 2,000 crore for agri market, Rs 7,550 crore for fishery and Rs 1,450 crore for animal husbandry, Shah said.

On the government's goal of doubling farmers' income by 2022, Shah said there were many apprehensions on how it will be achieved.

"But the government took everyone's views in a positive way, framed schemes and is working on them," he said, adding that the target of doubling farm income was not "mere words."

On the contribution of the agriculture sector to the gross domestic produce (GDP), Shah said "if you look at GDP figures, the contribution of agriculture to GDP is 15 per cent. If you add jobs the sector generates, then the sector's contribution to the GDP is 42 per cent."

During his speech, the members came into the Well raising slogans, prompting M Venkaiah to ask the protesting members not to disrupt the and maintain order. The members were however unrelenting in their protest.

"You can't come to the Well of the and take the House to ransom. The entire House wants to discuss farmers' issue," said and cautioned the TMC members that he would be forced to name them under Rule 255.

But the members insisted that their notice be taken up as they have the "democratic right" to raise issues.

A visibly upset said "When the discussion has started and in between the debate, you get a mood and suddenly stand up and say. This is not the way."

As the noisy scenes continued, Parliamentary Affairs Minister said "a party with 5 or 10 members jump into Well and not allow BJP to speak. This is not democracy. When you (TMC members) are named (by Chair) and still Shah speaks, can you shut his voice? Farmers and agriculture issue is important."

Goel also told them to participate in the debate and "not to do "

sought to know why the TMC was stopping the to speak on the farmers issue.

"Why are they stopping the debate. This is new trend in the House. The ruling party's President, who is also a member of the House, is not being allowed to speak."

Naidu urged members not to make "fun of democracy" and called out the names of the protesting TMC members standing in the Well of House and asked them to return to their seats, but they kept raising slogans.

The took the opinion of several party leaders on the matter.

said "unfortunately, members are agitated on some issue and the has said discussion can take place tomorrow. But members are not satisifed. Once the House is back in order, we can resume discussion. We are very much for the discussion."

Prasanna Acharya (BJD) said "I don't deny that what they are saying is an important issue. Equally, this is also an important issue. Let the farmers issue be discussed today and allow them to bring their issue tomorrow. Let us not prevent discussion on the plight of the farmers."

(SP) said the issue of debate was important, as also the issue raised by the TMC members. "The has given assurance that it will be allowed tomorrow. ... I feel the debate should happen."

Ramchandra (JD-U) said "it is unfortunate that when the debate has started, other various issues are raised. If this is the way, then House will not function."

(SAD) said "I come from a farming state and it is important that farmers issue is discussed. I am surprised that we are not willing to discuss the issue."

(Shiv Sena) said the debate should continue, while D Raja (CPI) said the farmers issue is important and needs to be debated.

However, as the slogan-shouting continued, Naidu adjourned the House twice. When it resumed at 3 pm, he said that some members are "divided" on the issue of debate on farmers issues even though it was unanimously agreed.

"Still members of one political party come to the well and shout slogans and defy the chair, I have no other way but to adjourn the House," he said and adjourned the proceedings for the day.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, August 07 2018. 18:10 IST