'Lone' crusader for farmers' rights in House

Cong MP refused to move from his dharna unless he was heard properly

Congress MP Lagadapati Rajagopal sat till 5 pm in the Lok Sabha — five hours after the House was adjourned sine die. The Vijaywada MP somehow eluded the marshals in the House and refused to leave even after his colleagues left after the adjournment shortly after noon.

When spotted sitting alone in the House, he was asked to leave as the security staff had to lock the room. But Rajagopal insisted that he would leave only after raising some “important farmers’ issues” relating to his constituency.

He said the august House should give some of their valuable time for discussing farmers’ issues instead of wasting it on the logjam due to the Opposition’s protest on the 2G spectrum scam.

“He refused to move from his dharna unless and until he was heard properly,” a Lok Sabha official told Deccan Herald.

In the beginning, the Parliament House officials seemed to be in a fix as they had never faced such a situation before. Congress members also had a tough time in persuading him by saying that being a member of treasury bench he should not create such a scene.
“But he refused to budge and demanded that the session should be extended at least for another week till all his concerns are addressed,” an eye-witness said.

The businessman-turned-politician, who had a declared asset of Rs 300 crore, also threatened to resign if his pleas were not listened to. He had used his histrionics last year also when he had gone on a fast-unto-death protesting against the demand for creating a separate Telangana state.

Ultimately, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Speaker Meira Kumar had to rush to the Lok Sabha to bring Rajagopal out of the House. Eyewitnesses said Bansal even organised tea for the MP and requested him to come out with him.

Ultimately what brought down curtains on this five-hour-long drama was Speaker Meira Kumar’s prayer and assurance. Meira, known for her soft spokenness and persuasive skills, assured Rajagopal that she would allow a special discussion on farmers’ problems in the Budget session of the House.

Following the assurance by the Speaker and the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Rajagopal agreed to end his solitary sit-in protest and come out of the House.

Comments (+)