Parliament sees disruptions, adjournments over demonetisation (Roundup)

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) Both the houses of Parliament on Friday saw heated exchanges between the government and the opposition over the demonetisation issue, leading to disruptions of proceedings and eventually adjournments for the day.

In the Lok Sabha, the opposition demanded a debate on the government’s November 8 demonetisation decision under the parliamentary rules entailing vote.

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said the poor were suffering due to the spiking of the Rs 500 and 1,000 currency notes.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, however, said that the people supported the measure aimed at curbing unaccounted wealth and corruption in the country.

As the opposition members created a ruckus, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house till 12 p.m.

The scene was no different when the house re-assembled, after which Mahajan adjourned the house for the day.

The Rajya Sabha saw heated exchanges as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members demanded an apology from Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad over his remarks on Thursday likening the deaths of those standing in queues outside banks and ATMs post demonetisation with the deaths of soldiers in the Uri terror attack.

As soon as the upper house assembled at 11 a.m., a united opposition started raising slogans against the government.

“This statement by him (Azad) has sent a wrong message in the whole country…Our appeal is the Congress and the Leader of Opposition should apologise to the nation,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said amid pandemonium.

“How he (Azad) has (disparaged) this big revolution, this big mission by the Prime Minister who is the champion of the poor, the weaker sections,” Naqvi added as opposition members created a din.

The agitated members refused to listen to the chair’s repeated requests to calm down and created uproar, leading to the adjournment until 11.30 a.m.

As the house re-assembled, the opposition parties demanded apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, leading to a second adjournment, this time until 12 noon.

Similar scenes were witnessed once again as the house re-assembled. Rajya Sabha Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari pleaded with the members to go back to their seats, assuring that their concerns would be taken care of, but the bedlam continued, forcing the chair to adjourn the house for another half hour.

The situation was no better when proceedings resumed. The Chairman asked the agitating members to maintain peace and let the house function, but they did not pay attention to his pleas, forcing him to adjourn it.

As soon as the house assembled in the post-lunch session, opposition members assembled near the Chairman’s podium again, raising slogans against the government.

“Jan virodhi Narendra Modi, mafi mango mafi mango (Anti-people Narendra Modi, apologise to people),” they chanted.

Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, meanwhile, allowed a few private members bills to be introduced and also announced the removal of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, from the register of bills pending in the council, calling it a money bill.

“After going through the provisions of the bill carefully, and the considered advice given by the Ministry of Law and Justice on the issue, I hold that the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, is a financial bill within the meaning of Clause(1) of Article 117 of Constitution,” he said.

“Accordingly, I terminate further discussion on the bill forthwith and direct that the bill be removed from the register of bills pending in the council,” he announced before adjourning the house till Monday.

The Rajya Sabha had a day-long debate on the demonetisation issue on the very first day of the on-going winter session of Parliament, but opposition parties became restless when Modi did not show up in the house during the debate.

From Thursday onwards, they started demanding presence of Prime Minister Modi in the house, saying the Prime Minister should be there as it is an issue of national importance.

The winter session of Parliament began on November 16.