Congress and its allies do not want Parliament to function and were shying away from a debate on demonetisation as the poor look at Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "messiah" after the decision, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday.
Attacking the opposition as both the Houses faced adjournment due to their noisy protests, the Information and Broadcasting Minister said Congress was "rattled" by smooth functioning of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday as it was not interested in a fruitful discussion.
Calling the demonetisation measure a "national project" and massive social mobilisation, he said people's lives will be impacted for a "better tomorrow". The government is concerned over the hardship being faced by masses and taking measures based to ease it.
"Modiji is very popular in the country and after this step he has become further... immensely popular. The poor of the country are looking at Modi as their messiah... We cannot understand why the Congress and its friends are raising a ruckus (in Parliament).
"Congress is now saying that the PM should come only then the debate will go on, demanding JPC probe. There is an attempt to divert from the issue. It does not have facts and public opinion is turning against it. They do not want Parliament to function and seem to be moving in that direction," he told reporters.
He accused the opposition party of taking a U-turn after initially agreeing to a debate.
Congress leaders are discussing the issue outside Parliament just for the sake of it and are not willing to take part in a debate and give meaningful feedback to the government to resolve issues, he said.
While BJP members protested in the House against Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad's remarks on Thursday in which he compared deaths following demonetisation with those killed in Uri terrorist attack, Naidu asked Congress to clarify if it was his personal remark or the party's official line.
Azad justified Pakistan-aided terrorism attack and he might have got carried away in the heat of the moment, Naidu claimed while appealing Opposition parties to resume the debate in Parliament.
Naidu also attacked TMC President Mamata Banerjee and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal over their protests on Thursday, saying they went to the RBI's office for a photo opportunity.
If both chief ministers have any query they can always meet Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, he said.
During their protests, people also chanted "Modi, Modi" at many places, he said.
Naidu accused the opposition parties of "abusing" the Prime Minister, saying they compared him with the likes of Hitler and Mussolini.
Modi has intervened during various debates in Parliament earlier, Naidu said on the demand by some opposition leaders that the PM speak on the issue. But it cannot be a practice as the precedence is of ministers concerned replying on the behalf of government, he added.
The minister said that people want Parliament to debate demonetisation but the opposition has disappointed them as well as the government by disrupting it.
"Are you against cleaning up of the economy? Are you against black money, hoarders... Or you are against the problems faced by the people," he asked, urging the rival parties to start a discussion and offer their suggestions to the government.
Photograph: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters