Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh has denied media reports that rules were violated during voting on the farm bills on September 20. In a note to the media, Mr Singh said he would like to "put the facts straight" and enclosed minute-by minute details of events and video footage of relevant portions -- during motions by CPM's KK Ragesh and DMK's Tiruchy Siva. The call for physical voting by both members was negated and their motions were turned down after a voice vote.
"The statutory resolution disapproving the ordinance and the amendment for the reference of the bill to select committee moved by Sri KK Ragesh were negatived by voice vote by the house at 1.07 pm as Sri Ragesh was in the Well of the house and not on his seat in the gallery at that point of time. This can be seen from the video as after calling him to move his resolution and amendment, I looked at the gallery, but he was not there," his note read.
KK Ragesh had also moved an amendment, which was taken up at 1.11 pm. At the time, he was on his seat demanding a division of house but it was also negated by voice vote. The Rajya Sabha footage shows this.
Regarding Tiruchy Siva's motion for sending the bills to a select committee, taken up at 1.10 pm when he was in his seat and demanded division of votes, Mr Singh's note read: "It is true that Sri Tiruchi Shiva demanded a division on his amendment for reference of his bill to select committee from his seat at 1.10 p.m. You will see from the same video that around 1.09 pm, one member was tearing the rule book and throwing on me. Besides I was surrounded by some hostile members, who were trying to snatch papers from me.
"You will appreciate, that as per rules and practice, in order to have a division, two things are essential. Firstly there should be a demand for division and equally important that there should be order in the house," the note read.
Mr Singh and the government had initially said the division of the house could not be allowed as the members were not in their seats. The government had on record said that the division could not take place as the house was not in order. The Deputy Chairman asked thirteen times the MPs to go back to their seats.
The opposition has alleged that voice vote was held to conceal that the government lacked numbers to pass the contentious farm bills, which would have become clear if a physical voting was held. They also accused Mr Singh of colluding with the government.
Eight opposition members were suspended by Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu for the uproar during the proceedings of September 20. The day after, Mr Singh had offered them tea as they spent the night in protest in the parliament premises.
While the opposition members spurned his offer, it drew warm appreciation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who tweeted, "To personally serve tea to those who attacked and insulted him a few days ago as well as those sitting on Dharna shows that Shri Harivansh Ji has been blessed with a humble mind and a big heart".
The opposition's no-confidence motion against Mr Singh was negated by Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu.