No-Confidence Motion Moved Against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman

The Deputy Chairman "attempted to have the bills passed in haste and without application of mind, read the MPs' letter to the Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha.

The deputy chairperson did not allow many opposition members to speak, alleged MPs. (FILE)

New Delhi:

Around 47 members of opposition parties moved a no-confidence motion against Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh after today's proceedings, where two controversial farm bills were passed amid an unprecedented uproar. A no-confidence motion against the Deputy Chairman is a first in parliament and the convention is that Mr Singh should not preside over house sessions till the matter is settled.

The Deputy Chairman "attempted to have the bills passed in haste and without application of mind, circumvented all demands for proper voting by Division and violated all Covid-10 norms by not providing enough time for sanitisaton," read the MPs' letter to the Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha.  

The letter also said he "packed the house with security personnel deliberately designed to overawe and outnumber the Members of the Opposition".

In the letter, the MPs also alleged that the deputy chairperson did not allow many opposition members to speak or consider extending the session, which, owing to the safety measures imposed by the coronavirus outbreak, was to end at 2 pm.  

The opposition members were up in arms this afternoon after Mr Singh said their resolution was negated and moved to pass the two bills by voice vote despite a demand for division by DMK MP Siva from his seat.

The opposition had demanded a physical voting where members who sat in the Lok Sabha could also vote, pointing out that they were sitting in parliament.   

When the Chair refused, they rushed to the Well of the House, tried to tear up the rule book to underscore their allegations, and tried to snatch off the Deputy Chairman's microphone.

Trinamool Congress's Derek O'Brien said the rule breaking has helped the BJP, which did not have enough members in the House today.  

"They cheated. They broke every rule in Parliament. It was a historic day. In the worst sense of the word. They cut RSTV feed so the country couldn't see. They censored RSTV. Don't spread propaganda. We have evidence," a tweet from him read.

Mr Singh was elected last Monday as parliament resumed for monsoon session after nearly six months. It was indefinitely adjourned in March, days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the countrywide lockdown to slow down the pandemic.

This is Mr Singh's second stint in the post -- he held the post earlier and it fell vacant after his Rajya Sabha term ended.