Anguished, had sleepless night: Naidu on RS 'sacrilege'

Spent sleepless night after 'sacrilege in temple of democracy': Naidu after Oppn ruckus in Rajya Sabha

As he was making the remarks, several opposition party MPs trooped in the Well of the House and started sloganeering over various issues

Naidu said Parliament, the apex legislature of the country, is regarded as the "temple of democracy". Credit: PTI

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said he spent a "sleepless night" over the ruckus in the Upper House following what he described as "sacrilege" of "the temple of democracy" but the Opposition found fault with him, claiming that he was presenting a "totally one-sided picture".

Breaking down while speaking during Zero Hour, Naidu said the disruption in the House is "propelled by a sense of competition among some sections" since the commencement of the Monsoon Session.

"The choice before each one of you is very clear. It is either to be the best parliamentarian or the worst disruptor," he said.

His remarks came a day after some MPs climbed the reporters' table when a short duration discussion on farmers' issue, waved black flags and one even threw a file at the Chair after the House was adjourned.

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Naidu said he "spent a sleepless night last night" and "struggled to find the provocation or reason for forcing the House to hit such a low yesterday".

Opposition MPs protested his remarks which they thought were unfair to them as he said the House lost a "golden opportunity" to put their views on record but it was not done as the "sole intention seems to be to not allow the House to function".

As Trinamool Congress floor leader Derek O'Brien rose on his feet saying that 35 Bills were passed in din, Opposition MPs trooped to the Well of the House. Naidu adjourned the House till 12 noon after finishing his remarks.

Congress Chief Whip Jairam Ramesh tweeted without naming anyone, "presiding officers in Parliament are supposed to be neutral umpires, not partisan players. They cannot present a totally one-sided picture of goings on in the House and further aggravate the situation. Misplaced emotion leads to commotion."

O'Brien said, "35-36 Bills were passed Bills. The government has provided the stimulus for the reaction (which one saw on Tuesday)."

The Opposition has been protesting in Parliament after the government stonewalled the demands for a discussion on Pegasus issue first followed by one on repeal of farm laws and economy.

On Tuesday, a short duration discussion on 'agriculture problems and solutions' was listed but the Opposition objected to it saying they wanted the subject to be changed as 'repeal of farm laws and farmers protest'.

"I find it difficult to understand as to how the way the subject was listed in the List of Business for yesterday (Tuesday) 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," Naidu said.

"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 famers. But it was not to be as the sole intention seems to be to not allow the House to function," he added.

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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. Entering this sanctum sanctorum of the House, in itself is an act of sacrilege and it has been happening as routine over the years," he said.

"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. 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," he said.

Naidu defended the wording of the short duration discussion saying 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.

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Unfortunately, he said, his caution to MPs that not taking up the discussion on farm sector would send out a negative message went unheeded and in the process, some sections of the House have "inflicted incalculable damage to the dignity and stature" of the Rajya Sabha.

He also found fault with the MPs shooting the "sad moments of sacrilege" of the House and posting it on social media.

"While doing so, they only ended up showing to the people the extent to which this august House can degenerate due to the new found competitive and aggressive disruptions by some sections. It was very sad indeed," he said.