Farmer rights, Padma awards to come up in Delhi Assembly session

The issue of farmers’ rights and the demand to confer the Padma awards to doctors and healthcare workers are among issues the Aam Aadmi Party plans to raise during the two-day monsoon session of the Delhi Assembly starting Thursday, sources said.

The list of businesses drawn up by the AAP is set to face opposition with the BJP pressing for discussions regarding the city, ranging from the water crisis to the lapses in the annual maintenance contract of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses. The BJP has eight MLAs in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.

Delhi government sources said that the AAP plans to have discussions on issues related to farmers, including recommendations made by the National Commission on Farmers, chaired by M S Swaminathan. One of the most widely talked about recommendations of the commission was to fix the minimum support price (MSP) for crops “at least 50 per cent more than the weighted average cost of production”.

The decision of the AAP to bring the recommendations of the commission to the centre stage assumes significance at a time when the farmers’ protests have been continuing for more than seven months, and Punjab is going to polls next year. The AAP is the primary opposition in the state and hopes to topple the Congress government during elections.

The ripples of Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s decision, to approve a panel of lawyers proposed by the Delhi Police to argue cases related to the Red Fort incident on January 26 when the protest turned violent, is also likely to be felt in the House.

The government is also likely to pass a resolution demanding Padma awards for doctors and healthcare workers, and Bharat Ratna for the Chipko movement icon, Sunderlal Bahuguna. The AAP’s push for the highest civilian award to the late environmentalist comes ahead of the party’s maiden poll venture in Uttarakhand that also goes to polls in 2022.

BJP MLAs, meanwhile, met Speaker Ram Niwas Goel Tuesday, demanding that the upcoming assembly session should have at least five sittings, instead of winding up in two days.

Addressing a press conference, Leader of the Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said that the BJP MLAs had given notices for discussions under Rule 55 of the Rules of Procedure, which regulates the procedure and conduct of business on important issues impacting the people of Delhi.

“Delhi is currently faced with a severe water crisis, government schools have a massive shortage of teachers, old-age pension is not being distributed, there is a breakdown in the public transport system, pollution in the capital continues to remain unaddressed in the absence of any action plan, healthcare facilities are in shambles after the second Coronavirus wave, and big drains have not been cleaned before monsoons, leading to flooding and waterlogging,” Bidhuri said.

He added that a two-day session was too short to discuss all these issues. Bidhuri alleged that the Delhi government had so far used the House “not to raise the issues pertaining to the people of Delhi but to fulfill its own petty political goals or promote its own selfish interests”.

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