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Ramdev's demand echoes in Parliament, Oppn demands action

Source: PTI
August 13, 2012 15:59 IST
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As National Democratic Alliance leaders joined Yoga guru Ramdev in his protest against black money, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition disrupted Parliament over the issue on Monday by demanding that the government should announce a time-bound plan to bring back such unaccounted money stashed abroad.

Members from BJP and Shiv Sena created uproar by pressing their demand, leading to repeated adjournments of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

Significantly, in the Rajya Sabha, NDA members were joined by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in flagging the issue vociferously.

Slogans like "Kaala dhan wapas lao, wapas lao, wapas lao (bring back black money)" reverberated in both Houses.

In the Rajya Sabha, the issue was raised during Zero Hour by Venkaiah Naidu (BJP), who demanded a statement from the government on the steps taken on the issue.

Supported by other members of the BJP, he sought a time-frame to bring back the money parked abroad.

While pressing his point, Naidu referred to the march to Parliament undertaken by Ramdev over the issue at around the same time and said there was country-wide concern.

P J Kurien, who was in the Chair, sought to defuse the situation, saying a discussion could be held on the issue if a proper notice is given and during that the government could provide a detailed response.

Ministers Ambika Soni, Rajiv Shukla and V Narayanasamy said the government is ready for a discussion during which it will spell out the steps taken on the issue.

They said the government has already brought a White Paper on the issue, which Naidu dismissed as an "empty paper".

Dissatisfied with the government's reply, unrelenting opposition members from BJP and AIADMK were up on their feet shouting slogans, forcing the Chair to adjourn the House, first for 10 minutes and then till 2 pm.  

In the Rajya Sabha, BJP member Najma Heptulla objected to Finance Minister P Chidambaram making a statement on the issue outside when the House was in session.

Naidu said this was a "burning issue" and people were getting demoralised with this "sorry state of affairs".

"Government has not come out with any concrete action so far. The White Paper by the government is an empty paper. There is no action plan to bring back the black money. The issue is not a casual or a simple thing," Naidu said.

Agreeing with Naidu, P J Kurien who was in the Chair, said, "You have made a very pertinent and serious point. The Chair is also agreeing on this. It is a big issue. I would suggest a senior leader gives notice and then it will be considered."

BJP Deputy Leader Ravi Shankar Prasad insisted on a time line for bringing back the black money stashed abroad. "Why government does not say in Parliament that they will get the blackmoney in a stipulated period of time," he asked.

In a sharp reaction, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla shot back at Prasad asking him what the NDA had done when it was in power for six years.

"The government is taking steps regarding black money. Taxes and penalty are being realised from defaulters. They did not take any action in six years. What steps did you take in six years except promote black money," Shukla retorted.

Earlier, soon after the Lok Sabha met for the day, Harin Pathak (BJP) demanded that he be allowed to raise the issue of blackmoney but Speaker Meira Kumar said she would only allow Rajnath Singh (BJP) and Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) to raise the issue during Zero Hour.

Unrelenting opposition raised an uproar over the issue with BJP and Shiv Sena members trooping into the Well raising slogans. The Lok Sabha was adjourned till noon over the issue.

While Lok Sabha saw one adjournment on the issue before noon, Rajya Sabha saw two adjournments each in the pre-lunch session and both Houses were finally adjourned till 2 pm amid slogan shouting.

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