Demonetisation creates Parliament logjam once again (Roundup)

New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) The demonetisation issue led to logjam in Parliament once again on Wednesday, with chaos ruling the roost for the fifth consecutive working day.

While the Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day around 12.30 p.m., shortly after it met after an adjournment, the Rajya Sabha saw some heated action in the post lunch meeting as an agitated Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien took to task the treasury members and MoS Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

In the Lok Sabha, the opposition parties noisily protested to demand a debate on demonetisation under provisions of voting. The government refused to budge.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the Lok Sabha when it assembled at 11 a.m.

As the lower house met after an adjournment at 12 noon, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan permitted members from the opposition and treasury benches to speak on the issue of holding a debate on demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Most opposition members demanded that the debate should take place under Rule 56, which entails voting, even as the Biju Janata Dal and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) said they had not given adjournment notices.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the opposition was ready for a debate and accused the government of not wanting to debate the issue which has sparked a chaos across the country.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader P. Karunakaran said some parties in the ruling NDA were also against demonetisation and named the Shiv Sena.

Shiv Sena MP Anandrao Adsul, however, maintained they were not against the move but the party has raised the issue of inconvenience caused to the people with Modi.

Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said that an adjournment motion was accepted only in an emergency situation.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar expressed concern that no business was being transacted in the House since the beginning of the session because of the opposition protests. He urged the opposition to initiate the discussion.

After listening to the members, the Speaker decided to disallow the adjournment motion, which created a massive uproar among the opposition members. The house was then adjourned for the day.

Earlier, Congress members trooped near the Speaker’s podium holding a huge banner soon after the house met at 11 a.m. However, when the house met again at 12 noon, the banner was gone.

The rules prohibit use of placards and banners in the house.

In the Rajya Sabha, a united opposition including the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal United (JD-U) and the Left, persisted with its demanded to call Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the House.

There was heated exchange of words between the opposition and the ruling party members in the post lunch meeting of the House, which prompted the Chair to loudly scold the treasury benches for creating ruckus in the house.

“I am seeing for the first time treasury benches behaving like this,” Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said and threatened action against the MPs who were creating ruckus in the house.

An upset Kurien also scolded Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi for apparently questioning the Chair’s authority to allow an opposition member to speak.

As the House met at 2 p.m., the opposition members persisted with their demand to call Prime Minister Modi to the House.

Deputy Chairman Kurien said that although it is the right of the members to ask for a Minister’s presence whose ministry’s matter is being discussed in the House, the Chair cannot ask the Prime Minister to come to the House, as there is “no convention”.

“My request is to start the discussion (on demonetisation). Why do you assume Prime Minister would not come to the House?” Kurien said.

Earlier, the Upper House began proceedings at 11 am with obituary reference to former parliamentarians Ram Naresh Yadav and M.G.K. Menon, and Carnatic musician M. Balamuralikrishna.

Amidst the ruckus, the upper House was first adjourned till 12 noon, and then till 2 p.m before it was adjourned for the day around 2.30 p.m.