Demonetisation rocks Parliament, washes out day two too (Roundup)
New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) Demonetisation issue rocked Parliament on Thursday as the united opposition created uproar in both houses and forced a wash-out of the second day of winter session.
The Lok Sabha managed to transact Question Hour and laying of the papers amid ruckus while the Rajya Sabha witnessed five adjournments before both the houses were adjourned for the day.
Before the Rajya Sabha was adourned for the day, the house witnessed a heated argument between Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu as the Congress leader likened those died during the withdrawal of money from banks and ATMs across the country to the Uri terror attack martyrs.
The government sought an unconditional apology from Azad but he refused to budge. Government strategists held a meeting in Parliament House after both houses were adjourned.
Sources said that both the houses are unlikely to transact any business on Friday as the government is adamant on unconditional apology from Azad and also unlikely to accept the opposition’s demand in the Lok Sabha for a debate under rules that provide for voting on the issue.
Soon after the Lok Sabha met, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge urged Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to accept the party’s notice for an adjournment motion, under which all other business is set aside for the debate which is followed by voting.
But Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the debate should be a short duration discussion under Rule 193 as a divided message should not go from the house.
Mahajan then proceeded with the Question Hour even as opposition members raised slogans and created a ruckus in the house.
After the Question Hour ended, she disallowed notices of adjournment motion received from various political parties over the issue. Then papers were laid on the table of the house as scheduled.
“We want discussion under Rule 56 which allows voting. It will not be proper to discuss under Rule 193. Our adjournment motion should be accepted and debate should take place under Rule 56,” Kharge said.
Mahajan, however, adjourned the house till 12.30 p.m., saying the debate cannot take place amid disturbances.
She also held a meeting in her chamber with the leaders of parties and government but no consensus was arrived at.
When the house met again, the scene was no different and a united opposition including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party continued with their demand of discussion with voting.
Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said the opposition was united and wanted to “censure” the government by voting.
“Today the situation is very different as the opposition is united,” he said, urging the Speaker to accept their adjournment notice.
However, Ananth Kumar said: “The public is with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision. We want the opposition to discuss the issue. I am sure there is no difference in opinion on curbing black money, corruption and counterfeit currency.”
Not satisfied with the government’s suggestion of discussing the issue under Rule 193, the opposition members started shouting slogans.
As no agreement was reached, the Speaker adjourned the house for the day.
The Rajya Sabha could not conduct any meaningful business as the opposition remained adamant on its demand that Modi be present during the debate on demonetisation and the house was finally adjourned for the day at 3 p.m. after five adjournments.
Members of the Congress, the Trinamool, AIADMK, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party demanded that the Prime Minister be present as the house discusses the demonetisation kissue.
Appeals by members of the treasury benches, including Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, that he would come as and when he wants and the debate must go on went unheard.
“Why don’t you debate the issue,” said Naqvi, adding that “he (Modi) will come when he has to.”
The opposition members did not pay any heed to their request and gathering in front of the presiding officer’s podium, shouted slogans against the Prime Minister and accused the government of being “insensitive”.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien also requested the agitating members to return to their seats but his pleas went unheeded and he finally adjourned the house for the day.