New Delhi , Sept 22:
The sit-in protest by eight suspended MPs on Parliament premises continued for the second day on Tuesday, with Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Singh offering them tea in the morning.
The suspended parliamentarians spent the night in the lawns near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, a first such overnight protest in the Parliament complex, old-timers said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Harivansh Singh’s gesture was proof of his greatness.
“To personally serve tea to those who attacked and insulted him a few days ago as well as those sitting on Dharna shows that Harivansh Ji has been blessed with a humble mind and a big heart. It shows his greatness. I join the people of India in congratulating Harivansh Ji,” he tweeted.
AAP’s Sanjay Singh tweeted a picture from the protest site in the morning, saying the “whole night was spent under the open sky in front of Bapu’s statue”. “The protest in favour of farmers’ rights is continuing,” he added.
The RS deputy chairman, the leaders said, came in bright and early with a posse of news cameras and was told by a senior MP to visit them without the cameras and sit with them.
“Another senior MP also told him that while bringing tea was a nice gesture, he was still in the wrong in what he did. He was told that he was the one who broke the rules,” a protesting MP said.
Several leaders said they did not accept the tea and snacks offered by the deputy chairman. “I did not have the tea brought by him,” Sanjay Singh said.
Undemocratic, says Cong
Harivansh Singh has been in the thick of things since the suspension drama unfolded. The eight MPs were suspended for the remaining part of the current session over their “misbehavior” with the deputy chairman during the passage of the farm Bills on Sunday.
The Monsoon Session is scheduled to end on October 1. However, the session is likely to be curtailed with several MPs testing positive for COVID-19.
Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu said Deputy Chairman Harivansh, an MP from Bihar, was physically threatened by opposition MPs on Sunday.
Naidu also rejected a notice for a no-confidence motion against the deputy chairman as it was not in proper format and a 14-day notice period was not given.
Opposition parties have hit out at the government over the suspension of the Rajya Sabha MPs, with the Congress terming it “undemocratic” and “one-sided”.
The suspended MPs have vowed to continue their protest and are even likely to demand that they be allowed to attend the session.