PM seeks support on demonetisation, opposition won’t oblige

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged the opposition parties to cooperate with the government on its decision to demonetise in the larger national interest, but the opposition refused to play ball.

The political parties declined to oblige, pointing to the inconvenience being caused to the masses by the government decision.

Talking to reporters after an all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the Prime Minister sought cooperation from the opposition to smoothly run the session.

“The Prime Minister has appealed to all parties to use the session to express their views, and debate and discuss important issues of public interest,” Kumar said.

“He also recalled how all the parties supported the government in getting the GST (Goods & Services tax) Bill passed. Similarly, this is a fight against corruption and fake currency, so all parties should support it,” Kumar said quoting the Prime Minister.

Kumar emphasised that the discussions were “cordial” and that the government is ready to discuss “all issues” that the opposition wants to raise.

He said that the Prime Minister also spoke on funding of political partied and stressed on making it transparent.

“All parties should collectively address the concerns and questions raised on the funding of political parties,” he said.

The Prime Minister also talked about conducting simultaneous elections across the country.

Meanwhile, senior Congress functionary and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad stressed that the opposition is united against demonetisation. But, in the same breath, he added that the Congress is not seeking a rollback of the decision.

“We are against the black money. It is not our case that the old currency notes should be continued. But we are concerned about the great inconvenience being caused to the common people,” Azad told media persons after the all-party meet.

“Millions and millions of people are on the roads, there is an economic chaos across the country,” he added.

He said the opposition will raise the issue in both houses of Parliament.

“All opposition parties are against black money. In the last two and a half years, we have been reminding the NDA government about their promise to bring black money back,” Azad said.

“However, while we want you to get the black money out, this method that the government adopted is wrong,” he said.

Azad also said this might lead to unearthing of the biggest scam of the NDA government.

“There was selective leakage. Some people knew about it,” he said.

On the rare unity of opposition on the issue of demonetisation, Azad said that such unity was not there in the previous sessions, because the government always tries to divide the opposition.

He said among the issues the opposition wants to discuss are situation in Jammu and Kashmir, issues related to farmers and Dalits, One Rank One Pension for the armed forces, and the undue delay in judicial appointments.

Asked if he will join West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in meeting President Pranab Mukherjee, Azad said, “not on the very first day of the session”.

“We are all together, but the general view is we should not go to meet the President on the first day of Parliament session itself. Let’s first discuss the issue on the floor of the house,” he said.

The opposition leaders from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, CPI-M, CPI, RSP, Natikonalist Congress Party, Janata Dal-United and Rastriya Janataa Dal met in Parliament House ahead of the all-party meet called by the government, and decided to raise voice against demonetisation in unison in Parliament.

The winter session of Parliament starts on Wednesday.