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Rediff.com  » News » Demonetisation debate: RS adjourned for the day as Opposition seeks PM's reply

Demonetisation debate: RS adjourned for the day as Opposition seeks PM's reply

Last updated on: November 17, 2016 16:28 IST
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Opposition parties led by Congress on Thursday forced the Rajya Sabha to be adjourned fro the day, after five adjournments earlier in the day, demanding a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the hardships caused to people by demonetisation of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.

Slogan-shouting Congress and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members trooped into the Well, forcing Deputy Chairman P K Kurien to first adjourn the House till 11.30 pm and again then till noon.

Soon after the House mourned the passing away of Swaminarayan sect head Pramukh Swami Shastri Narayan Swarup Das, Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien was up on his feet.

As Deputy Chairman P J Kurien allowed O’Brien to make his submission, slogan shouting AIADMK members trooped into the Well raising slogans demanding that Karnataka release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

They however went back to their seats after Kurien assured that he will allow their leader A Navaneethakrishnan to speak after the TMC leader.

All hell broke lose when Derek asked where the prime minister was when the House discusses hardships and inconvenience caused by the decision to withdraw old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.

“The person who made the (demonetisation) announcement at 8 o’clock on November 8, where is he,” he said.

Treasury benches countered him vociferously with even ministers including Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rising to counter the demand.

At this point, Congress members trooped into the Well of the House shouting ‘Pradhan Mantri Jawab do (Prime Minister, reply).’

Kurien said the discussion on demonetisation was going on smoothly. “If Finance Minister is available, that is enough,” he said.

The discussion, which was initiated after suspending listed business of the day on Wednesday, could be resumed if the House is in order, he said.

“We can start discussion now,” he said.

At this point, AIADMK members also trooped into the Well shouting slogans, forcing Kurien to adjourn the House till 11.30 pm.

There was no change in the scenario in the House when it reassembled at 11.30 pm.

AIADMK members again trooped into the Well, followed by their Congress counterparts.

Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati was seen standing her seat as were several members of SP and Left parties.

Naidu rose to make a statement but he could not be heard in the din caused by AIADMK and Congress members in the Well.

Kurien expunged certain references to the prime minister made by some opposition members.

“The prime minister cannot be referred to like that. Reference to the prime minister is expunged,” he said, as he tried to pacify members raising slogans in the Well.

“I don’t know why are you shouting,” Kurien said.

As his efforts to bring order in the House did not bear fruit, Kurien adjourned the House till noon.

The Question Hour in Rajya Sabha at noon was also washed out due to continued uproar by opposition members, many of whom were in the Well raising slogans.

As soon as the House met at noon, members of Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Trinamool Congress trooped into the Well shouting slogans and demanding the presence of the Prime Minister in the House to listen to the grievances of the people due to the demonetisation move being raised by the MPs.

The AIADMK members were also in the Well shouting slogans and demanding the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.

Repeated requests by Chairman Hamid Ansari to allow the Question Hour failed to yield result, after which he adjourned the House initially till 12.30 hours.

When the House met again, similar uproarious scenes were again witnessed, forcing Ansari to adjourn the House till 2 pm.

When the House reassembled at 2 pm, members from the Congress, the BSP and te AIADMK again trooped into the Well amid demands by almost entire Opposition for the presence of the prime minister in the House during the debate on demonetisation.

Pradhan Mantri House me aao, Pradhan Mantri Hazir ho (prime minister come to the House, prime minister present himself before the House),” shouted the opposition members.

Some of them said that after forcing the entire nation to stand in queues, where is the PM.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said, “I cannot direct any minister. It is a discussion on demonetisation, the finance minister is the concerned minister and he is here.”

When the uproar continued, Kurien said, “The point is you (members) should be clear that discussion was demanded by members. It is a discussion on demonetisation.

He said the discussion for five hours on Wednesday was fruitful and the finance minister was in the House throughout. It, however, failed to bring order in the House.

Naresh Agarwal (Samajwadi Party), who was listed to speak in the resumed discussion on demonetisation, demanded to know where the PM was. He quipped that Modi should come to House if he is not in the queue for withdrawing money.

Amid the din, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it was unfortunate that the Opposition was busy in disrupting the House as they were ‘left with no logic’.

He appealed to the opposition to participate in the debate in a constructive manner and that the ‘finance minister will reply to all your queries and no query will remain unanswered’.

However, as the disruptions continued, Kurien adjourned the House till 3 pm saying, “As far as the Chair is concerned, the finance minister is here...I am adjourning the House till 3 pm.”

Heated exchanges broke between treasury and opposition benches as the BJP took objection to Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement that more people died due to government’s decision on demonetisation than those killed in Pakistani terrorist firing in Uri.

Terming the Azad’s remark as ‘anti national’, I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu demanded that the entire Congress party should apologise and also asked Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to expunge the statement.

No sooner the House met again, AIADMK members trooped into the Well.

In an effort to raise the demonetisation controversy, Azad said Congress has no differences with the AIADMK and would participate in the discussion on the matter being raised by it.

“Don't fall in the trap of BJP. This (protest in the Well) is directly associating you (the AIADMK) with the BJP,” Azad said, as treasury bench members objected.

The Leader of Opposition said 40 people had died following government’s decision on demonetisation. Even lesser number of people had died in firing by Pakistani terrorists in Uri, he said.

‘Who should be punished’ for the death of these 40 people due to ‘wrong policy’ on demonetisation, Azad asked and added that ‘millions of people are troubled. The BJP and the government is responsible’.

Azad’s reference to Pakistan drew massive objection from the treasury benches with many BJP members seen shouting back at the Congress benches.

“It is an anti-national statement. Pakistan will use this statement. You want to give a certificate to Pakistan,” Naidu said, and asked that ‘entire (Congress) party should apologise’ as it was a very ‘atrocious statement’.

He also demanded that the statement should be expunged from the records.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked Azad if he would like to respond to Naidu.

To this, Azad said he was only referring to the number of people who had died due to the government’s decision on demonetisation.

“We face Pakistan's fire round the clock. You attend their weddings,” Azad said in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sudden visit to Lahore to attend the marriage ceremony of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s kin in December last year.

In the meantime, Congress members also entered the Well.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar tried to make a statement, but could not be heard amid the din.

Kurien tried to continue the debate on demonetisation, but as his repeated attempts failed, he adjourned the House for the day.

Representative image.

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