The voice of farmers "is crushed in Parliament and outside", Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said today, sharpening his attack of the government over the passing the contentious farm bills last week amid unpresented chaos in the Rajya Sabha.
Mr Gandhi was reacting to a media report that rules were violated during voting on the farm bills on September 20.
"The agriculture laws are a death sentence to our farmers. Their voice is crushed in Parliament and outside. Here is proof that democracy in India is dead," the Congress MP tweeted.
The agriculture laws are a death sentence to our farmers. Their voice is crushed in Parliament and outside.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) September 28, 2020
Here is proof that democracy in India is dead. pic.twitter.com/MC4BIFtZiA
Farmers and opposition parties are protesting in several states over the three farm bills which got presidential assent on Sunday.
The government and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh have justified passing the farm bills on September 20 through a voice vote saying opposition members were not in their seats when they asked for physical voting. But Rajya Sabha footage accessed by NDTV shows otherwise.
At least two of the three members who had called for the controversial bills to be sent to a select committee and sought amendments -- KK Ragesh and Trichy Siva -- were in their seats when they demanded a division of votes, footage reviewed by NDTV shows.
The opposition has alleged that the government lacked numbers, which would have been proved had physical voting been held. They also accused the Deputy Chairman, who was presiding at the time, of helping the government by enabling the voice vote.
Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh, responding to the footage, denied the opposition's allegations with an "incident report" detailing a minute-by-minute account of what happened inside the house. He also enclosed video footage of relevant portions -- during motions by CPM's KK Ragesh and DMK's Tiruchy Siva.
Oppostiton parties in several states are holding protests against the farm laws. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is on a sit-in in Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral village of freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh. In Karnataka, the Congress has supported a state-wide bandh or a shutdown today, called by farmers groups.
This morning, a tractor was set on fire near India Gate in the heart of Delhi during protests against the farm laws.
DMK chief MK Stalin led a protest in Tamil Nadu's Kancheepuram.
Farmers have expressed apprehension that the laws would pave a way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the "mercy" of big companies.