Harivansh, Anand Sharma lock horns in Rajya Sabha

Officials distribute paper-slips among members during voting for the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha at Parliament, in New Delhi, Thursday, Aug 1, 2019. (RSTV/PTI Photo)

 Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh and Congress deputy leader Anand Sharma were locked in a heated exchange in the Upper House on Thursday evening after the latter questioned the Chair's direction not to record the remarks of an Opposition member during the debate on National Medical Commission Bill.

It all started soon after Trinamool Congress' Santanu Sen sought a clarification from Health Minister Harsh Vardhan during the voting on the bill.

As Harivansh moved forward without the minister's clarification, some Opposition members were on their feet protesting on some issue. At this, Harivansh said that nothing will go on Parliamentary record.

Sharma immediately got up and said this was "happening every day" that the Chair was not allowing remarks to go on record.

"Are we kindergarten students? You cannot treat us like this every day. We cannot even ask a clarification. Parliament is to deliberate. Why do we come here. This is a democracy," Sharma said while another Opposition member pointed out that the minister was ready to clarify but he was not allowed.

Harivansh responded to Sharma saying, "this is your impression. I will not accept that."

However, tempers cooled soon and Harivansh allowed Sen to repeat his question whether deemed universities would come under the National Medical Commission.

Harsh Vardhan said that all medical institutions would come under the purview of the Commission.

Soon after, there was another confrontation between the Opposition and Harivansh over taking the sense of the House to extend the sitting beyond 6 pm to take up the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment bill.

While the Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad suggested that the bill could be taken up on Friday morning, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said that it was an important bill and the government wants to pass it on Thursday itself.

As Harivansh then went on to take the bill, Trinamool Congress floor leader Derek O'Brien raised a point of order, saying the convention has to be followed and the sense of the House should be taken.

Several Opposition members supported O'Brien but as the proceedings continued, some of them walked out.

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