In a first of its kind protest, more than 20 Opposition parties on Friday boycotted President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to Parliament marking the beginning of the first session in the new year.
Congress member Ravneet Singh Bittu and RLP member Hanuman Beniwal marked their token presence in Parliament and raised slogans demanding repeal of the three farm laws before staging a walkout.
“We did not see the relevance of going there,” former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said about the boycott on the first day of the Budget Session. Opposition leaders staged demonstrations and raised slogans against the government’s refusal to accede to farmers’ demand for repeal of the laws.
As President Kovind began his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament in the Central Hall, Bittu raised slogans in support of the farmers protesting against the farm laws on the borders of the national capital. After a brief monologue in the Central Hall, Bittu, a Lok Sabha member from Ludhiana, appealed to the government to repeal the three farm laws and moved out of the chamber raising the slogan – ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’.
Beniwal, a member from Nagaur in Rajasthan, also waved a placard and spoke against the government’s approach to farmers’ protest. “Repeal three black laws. Kisan Ekta Zindabad,” said Beniwal, who had quit the NDA in December, before walking out of the House.
Opposition members also raised slogans against the farm laws during brief sittings of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
Congress leader Manish Tewari called for doing away with the “ritual of President’s address to joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament & Governor’s address to Vidhan Sabhas.”
“It is an inane recitation of a laundry list of Government’s alleged achievements. A sheer waste of precious legislative time,” Tewari, a former Union minister said.