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Demonetisation: BJP works on strategy to deal with a divided opposition

November 14, 2016 11:52 IST

Expecting fireworks in both Houses during the Winter Session of Parliament starting from Wednesday, the Bharatiya Janata Party Parliamentary Party Executive will go into a huddle on Monday to chalk out strategy to counter the opposition which is divided over how to take on the Narendra Modi government on various issue.

Top brass, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, will attend the meet. On the agenda will be issues like demonetisation, the Kashmir unrest and One-Rank One-Pension.

The National Democratic Alliance allies are also meeting on Monday. The prime minister will be attending that meeting as well.

In a clear indication of the party's line in Parliament over demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, Shah attacked opposition parties, saying they were against an exercise which has rattled those dealing in black money, fake currency, narcotics and such activities.

The Congress has sought suspension of business on day one of Winter Session to discuss the demonetisation issue.

Leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said Congress MPs would raise the demonetisation issue under rules 56 and 193 during the Winter Session.

Deputy leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma has already given a notice for the suspension of business under rule 267 of the Rajya Sabha for a discussion on the same issue.

Opposition parties are a divided house
Archis Mohan reports for Business Stadard

The opposition, particularly the Congress and Trinamool Congress, is set to raise the issue of demonetisation and how it has inconvenienced common people. But it ranks lack unanimity as several of the parties do not want to be seen opposing the move lest they are painted as defending ‘black money’ and corruption.

On Sunday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said attempted to build consensus. She spoke with several political leaders, including with arch rival Communist Party of India-Marxist, to fight the government's "financial anarchy" together. Banerjee also called up President Pranab Mukherjee to seek time to brief him, along with other political leaders, about the hardships that common people are facing.

A meeting, she said, is slated for Wednesday or Thursday.

But opposition ranks lack unanimity on the issue. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has praised the PM's decision. Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal chief Naveen Patnaik, Janata Dal-United chief and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and even Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav have largely welcomed the move.

These are parties with significant numbers in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in minority.

The CPI-M, while critical of the move, doesn’t want to be seen standing with Banerjee. CPI-M's Lok Sabha member Md Salim has said that the Trinamool is drowned in corruption and shields culprits.

Parties are wary that the issue might become in public view of "an honest Modi versus the rest who are defending the corrupt." The opposition parties are likely to question the poor planning, rather than the intent. The government has indicated it would be willing to discuss all issues, including demonetisation.

The forthcoming winter session, from November 16 to December 16, will have the government introduce the Central Goods and Services Tax, Integrated GST and GST (Compensation for Loss of Revenue) Bills, 2016. It hopes for the passage of these bills to meet enable it to meet the GST rollout date of 1 April, 2017.