Congress backs as Azad seeks BJP apology on demonetisation

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday demanded an apology from the Bharatiya Janata Party for deaths of people standing in queues outside banks and ATM kiosks after the November 8 demonetisation of high-denomination currency notes.

Reiterating his stand against demonetisation, Azad told the media at Parliament House here: “The BJP should apologise to the 125 crore citizens of India.”

Azad, a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and a former Union minister, triggered a furore among the treasury benches in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday when he likened the deaths of people outside banks and ATMs to the deaths of 20 soldiers in the September 18 terror attack at an army base camp in Uri in his home state.

The remark was later expunged by the house.

The Congress, meanwhile, stood by Azad and said there is no question of defending him when he is right.

“There is no question of defending something that is absolutely correct. Azad Sahab said that 20 of our soldiers laid down their lives in Uri attack defending the country and we are proud of them,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

“But one autocratic decision of a dictatorial Prime Minister has killed 55 innocent people. Who is responsible for it? They died because of the economic anarchy heaped upon them by the Prime Minister. This is the comparison that Ghulam Nabiji brought about,” he added.

Suurjewala said: “Azad Sahab was right in saying ‘If a Hindu questions the government, then he is anti-national and if a Muslim questions, then he is a Pakistani’.”

Meanwhile, slamming the opposition parties for continued disruptions in Parliament over demonetisation, the government said the Congress is avoiding a debate in the house to save itself from getting exposed over its opposition to cleansing of the system.

“We cannot make out why the opposition, especially the Congress and its friends, are creating an uproar in Parliament,” Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told the media outside Parliament here.

“While they are posturing in public, they don’t want to debate in the house. They just want to prevent themselves from being exposed over their objection to the cleaning of the system,” he said after the Rajya Sabha witnessed several adjournments during the day.

The senior BJP leader said the opposition was trying to divert public attention from the issue.