"Sleepless Night": Venkaiah Naidu Breaks Down, Slams Parliament Chaos

Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said he was "distressed by the way the sacredness was destroyed yesterday" after opposition MPs climbed the officials' table at the centre of the Rajya Sabha.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said he had no words to convey his anguish.

Highlights

  • Venkaiah Naidu condemned "sacrilege" of Parliament by the Opposition
  • Members posted videos on social media "after the sacrilege", he said
  • MPs protesting farm laws climbed tables, waved black cloths, threw files
New Delhi:

Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu broke down today in the house while reading out a statement condemning what he called "sacrilege" and violation of the "temple of democracy" by the opposition.

Opposition MPs on Tuesday climbed the officials' table at the centre of the Rajya Sabha, waved black cloths and threw files during a discussion on the farmer protests over three central laws.

Members sat on tables and many stood on them, shouting slogans. Sources say the government wants strict action against the MPs and may report the incident to the parliamentary Ethics Committee.

Describing parliament as a temple of democracy and the centre of the house as the "holy sanctum sanctorum", Mr Naidu said: "I am distressed by the way the way the sacredness was destroyed yesterday. When some members sat on the table, some members climbed on the table of the house, perhaps to be more visible with such acts of sacrilege."

The Vice President continued: "I have no words to convey my anguish and to condemn such acts as I spent a sleepless night...last night" He broke off, choking up.

After a long pause, he resumed: "I struggle to find out the reason or provocation for forcing this august house to hit such a low yesterday."

Mr Naidu said the opposition could have discussed their objections to the farm laws in the house, protested or voted against it. "But it is for the government to act. You cannot force the government to do this or not to do this... Yesterday was a golden opportunity for the concerned members to have gone on record...but it seems their sole intention was to not allow the house to function."

Opposition MPs piped up then, alleging that the Chair was speaking for the government instead of staying neutral.

Though the visuals of the opposition protests were not shown yesterday, MPs shared them on Twitter.

Mr Naidu commented that "after the sacrilege", members even posted on social media.

"I was very sad and deeply anguished," he said, asking members to "seriously reflect" on what happened.

By the time he was wrapping his statement, the opposition members had gathered around the table, clapping and chanting slogans.

Congress member Pratap Singh Bajwa, who stood on the table yesterday and threw the rule book at the Chair, told NDTV: "MPs who threw the rule book towards the Chair wanted that the Chair must follow the rulebook in ĺetter and spirit."

Another Congress leader, Jairam Ramesh, tweeted: "Presiding officers in Parliament are supposed to be neutral umpires, not partisan players. They cannot present a totally one-sided picture of goings on in the House and further aggravate the situation. Misplaced emotion leads to commotion."

The monsoon session of parliament, which began on July 19, has been a cycle of disruptions, adjournments and protests in both houses over a range of subjects, mainly the Pegasus snooping scandal involving allegations that opposition politicians, journalists, activists and others were targeted by Israeli Pegasus spyware sold only to governments.

"I am pained that the house didn't run smoothly. House functioned only for 21 hours and 14 minutes. 20 Bills were passed in Lok Sabha," said Lok Sabha Speaker OM Birla, addressing the media on the close of the session.