Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venakaiah Naidu broke down on Wednesday as he expressed deep anguish over some opposition MPs climbing on the Table of the House, and said he couldn’t sleep because of the sacrilege in Parliament, which is regarded as the “temple of democracy”.
Expressing distress over the ruckus created by opposition MPs in the House on Tuesday when a discussion on farmers’ agitation against farm bill was taken up, he said he struggled to find a provocation or reason for such a low in the “august House”.
“I have no words to convey my anguish and to condemn such acts. As I spent a sleepless night last night, I struggled to find the provocation or reason for forcing this august House to hit such a low yesterday,” an emotional Naidu said as he read out his remarks at the start of the proceedings in the Upper House of Parliament.
Regaining his composure he continued to read his remarks but was interrupted by some Trinamool Congress and Congress MPs who raised the issue of House dignity also being lowered by the passage of numerous bills within minutes and without debate.
Thereafter he adjourned the proceedings for almost an hour. On Tuesday, some TMC, Congress and Left MPs climbed on the House Table which is placed right below the presiding officers’ chair, forcing multiple adjournments.
“I rise in deep anguish to place on record the way this august House is being subjected to sacrilege and that too, propelled by a sense of competition among some sections of the House, since the commencement of this monsoon session,” he said. “Everything said or done violating, hurting or destroying the sacredness of any place amounts to an act of sacrilege.”
Stating that the Parliament is regarded as the ‘temple of democracy’, he said the table area where the officers and reporters of the House, the Secretary-General and the Presiding Officer are seated is considered as the holy sanctum sanctorum of the House.
“A certain degree of sacredness is attached to this place. In our temples, devotees are allowed only up to this sanctum sanctorum and not beyond,” he said.
Entering this sanctum sanctorum of the House, in itself is an act of sacrilege and it has been happening as routine over the years.
“I am distressed by the way this sacredness has been destroyed yesterday. While some members sat on the table, some others climbed on the Table of the House, perhaps to be more visible with such acts of sacrilege. I have no words to convey my anguish and to condemn such acts,” he said.
Naidu said a discussion on ‘agricultural problems and solutions’ was listed for discussion on Tuesday after a broad agreement in the House to discuss the plight of farmers.
“Over the years, when ‘Notices of Motions’ of a different kind are admitted by the Chair, the language to be used in the ‘List of Business’ is drafted in such a way that it is acceptable to all sections of the House without denting the thrust of the issue to be discussed. It happened yesterday too,” he said.
The opposition MPs, who have been demanding a repeal of the three contentious farm reforms laws over which farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders for months now, wanted a discussion on the agitation.
“I find it difficult to understand as to how the way the subject was listed in the List of Business for yesterday would have prevented any member to raise any issue concerning the farm sector including the three farm Bills that some members were keen to raise in the House and even demanding their withdrawal.
“Yesterday was a golden opportunity for the concerned members to have gone on record with their positions on all issues relating to the plight of the farmers. But it was not to be as the sole intention seems to be to not allow the House to function,” he said.