Din over demonetisation: RS adjourned yet again

New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha was on Wednesday adjourned for the day amid the opposition’s protest over the issue of demonetisation.

There were heated exchanges 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 a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha.

“For the first time I am seeing treasury benches behaving like this,” Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, who was presiding over the House, said and threatened action against the MPs creating a ruckus in the House.

A riled 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 reassembled at 2 p.m., the opposition members persisted with their demand to call Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the House.

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 such convention”.

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

Earlier, the House began at 11 a.m. with obituary references to former parliamentarians Ram Naresh Yadav and M.G.K. Menon, and Carnatic musician M. Balamuralikrishna.

After that a few ministers laid the papers on the table, but Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury protested that the papers being laid by the ministers had not been circulated among the members.

“What are the papers that ministers are laying? Those (the papers) have not been circulated,” Yechury pointed out. Some other MPs also supported his stand.

The Deputy Chairman then said: “If that is true, it would be looked into.”

Soon after, Sharad Yadav of Janata Dal-United and Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati raised the demonetisation issue.

While Yadav demanded compensation for the families of those who have died post demonetisation, Mayawati demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in the House.

“People are dying…there is hullabaloo all around in the country. The Prime Minister should answer inside the House not outside,” Mayawati said as she urged the chair to call the Prime Minister to the House.

Mayawati was joined by Yechury, who said that the government is answerable to Parliament and the Prime Minister “abdicating his responsibility” of being answerable to Parliament is “violating the very Constitution on whose oath he has become the Prime Minister”.

Congress’ Anand Sharma said it is illegal to deny people access to their own money and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created financial anarchy in the country.

Trinamool Congress MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy sought a ruling from the chair as to whether the Prime Minister can make a statement on a policy decision outside Parliament when the House is in session.

As the opposition became noisy, the House was first adjourned until 12 noon and then until 2 p.m.