Demonetisation dominant issue in Bengal assembly no-confidence debate

Kolkata, Dec 9 (IANS) The issue of demonetisation took centrestage as the West Bengal assembly on Friday debated a no-confidence motion brought by the opposition Congress and Left Front against the Mamata Banerjee government.

At the end of a 90-minute debate, during which the opposition lawmakers went hammer and tongs agains the Trinamool Congress government, the motion was defeated by 50-191 votes. A voice vote did not satisfy the opposition, and it sought a division.

In stinging speech, Chief Minister Banerjee criticised the Congress and LF over the timing of the motion, saying it was brought when the country was reeling under the impact of the prime minister Narendra Modi led central government demonetising the currency notes of Rs 100 and Rs 500 denomination.

Ridiculing the opposition parties, she said they seem to lack confidence in their own national leadership.

“They have brought no confidence motion against us. But this is without any basis. In the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, we are moving jointly with your parties on the issue of demonetisation. It seems you don’t have any confidence on your own parties,” she said.

There was temporary bedlam in the house after Congress’ Nepal Mahato accused the ruling Trinamool of trying to lure elected members of the opposition in the assembly, municipalities and the rural bodies to its side since the state elections earlier this year. However, after demonetisation, such efforts have seen an ebb, he said.

As the ruling party MLAs stood up and protested, Speaker Biman Banerjee asked Mahato to provide evidence to back his allegations.

Leader of the Left Front Legislature Party Sujan Chakraborty referred to Banerjee’s phone call to his party CPI-M’s General Secretary Sitaram Yechury for a joint movement on demonatisation.

An infuriated Benerjee shot back that she would never again call Yechury as he doesn’t have “any political courtesy”.