Entire opposition walks out of Rajya Sabha over farmer suicides

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Opposition walked out of the Rajya Sabha
Opposition walked out of the Rajya Sabha

New Delhi : Dissatisfied with Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh's reply on a discussion on the agrarian crisis and farmers' suicides in the country, the entire opposition on Wednesday walked out of the Rajya Sabha.

The opposition members, mainly Congress member Digvijaya Singh and Nationalist Congress Party member Praful Patel, accused the minister of just giving out statistics that were already in the public domain and skirting the main issue.

After Radha Mohan Singh started talking about various schemes, the opposition members asked him to speak about the ongoing farmers' suicides in the country.

The Rajya Sabha had been discussing the agrarian crisis and farmers' distress in the country since Tuesday.

After listing positive results that various schemes yielded, the Agriculture Minister said the National Crime Record Bureau's report showed that farmers' suicide constituted just 8-10 per cent of the total suicide cases in the country.

Subsequently, Digvijaya Singh asked the minister: "Your schemes are very good and you have allotted enough funds. We know it. But tell us why farmers are agitating? Why are they committing suicides?"

Even Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien asked Radha Mohan Singh several times during his long-winded reply -- that went on for over an hour -- to conclude as the Upper House had to take up other listed business.

However, the minister did not pay heed to the Chair's repeated reminders and continued with his reply.

"How much more time (do) you want to take? Please conclude," Kurien repeatedly told the minister.

The opposition walked out in protest even as the minister continued with his reply.

At the end of the minister's reply, Digvijaya Singh, who had initiated the short discussion on the agrarian crisis, dared Radha Mohan Singh to go and give the same speech in front of the farmers protesting at Jantar Mantar here.