Demonetisation: Oppn protests disrupt RS proceedings

Demonetisation: Oppn protests disrupt RS proceedings
Opposition parties on Monday continued their tirade against government in Rajya Sabha over the woes of employees and the pensioners due to the cash crunch following demonetisation, as vociferous protests forced the wash out of the first half of the day’s proceedings.

Congress, BSP, SP and TMC members trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans demanding the government’s reply on the problems faced by employees and pensioners, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till noon and again till 1400 hours as similar scenes continued.

Soon after the Upper House mourned the death of two of its former members and the listed papers were laid, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said: “The government employees and pensioners are not getting their salaries. I want to know from the goverment if there is a financial emergency.” He said there is no cash in ATMs located even in the Parliament complex. “When we are not getting money from ATMs in Parliament, how do we expect it outside? It seems there is a financial emergency.”

Stating that it is a serious issue, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien called members to resume the discussion on demonetisation that had began on November 16.

“I am agreeing that you are raising a important and serious issue. It is for the government to reply. You start discussion. If all of you shout, what is the benefit? The only remedy is discussion,” he said.

But unrelenting Opposition members trooped into the Well raising slogans -- “Logon ka paisa, logon ko do (give the money that belongs to people)”, “Hosh mein aao, Hosh mein aao, Pradhan Mantri House mein aao (Come to your senses, PM come to the House).”

As protesting members started shouting at high pitch, Kurien said: “You want a solution to the problem, then go back and raise the issue. Then the government will reply. This is not the way. There is anarchy in the House. I am not going to adjourn. Slogan shouting is no solution. You will get certain headlines in newspapers and nothing more. I will not adjourn.”

The Treasury benches countered the Opposition shouting “We want discussion, We want discussion.”

As the Opposition members refused to heed to the Chair’s repeated pleas to return to their seat, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu suggested the Chair to take up the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014.

Opposition members did not heed to this, even as Naresh Agarwal (SP) said that the entire nation has been crippled due to demonetisation. As the protests continued, the House was adjourned till 1200 hours. 

When the House met at noon, members were on their feet raising uproar.

While Chairman Hamid Ansari called for taking up the Question Hour, his pleas did not evoke any response as members kept speaking out of turn. 

“It is your Question Hour,” he said as Opposition members shouted “No”.

With Anand Sharma (Cong), Naresh Agrawal (SP), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Satish Misra (BSP) and Tapan Kumar Sen (CPI-M) speaking at the same time, no one could be heard. Incidentally, the microphones of Opposition leaders speaking were put off and only that of the Chairman and the member raising the question were working. As pandemonium prevailed in the House, Ansari said, “Nobody is being heard.”

Meanwhile, Congress, TMC members and those of some other Opposition parties were standing in the aisles raising slogans and demanding the presence of the Prime Minister in the House for the demonetisation debate to resume.

As uproar continued, the Chairman adjourned the House till 1400 hours.

When the House reassembled at 1400 hours, Naresh Agarwal (SP) said he went to Air India office where he was surrounded by employees to complain that they have not been paid salaries.

Why Opposition stalling Parl if it want to raise people’s issues

Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu questioned the Opposition's "logic" behind not allowing Parliament to function if it wanted to highlight the problems people are facing due to demonetisation. "We are ready to discuss all issues in the House. I have not been able to understand why they (Opposition) are doing this?" Naidu said outside Parliament. 

Both the Houses were adjourned for the day today as the Opposition continued to disrupt proceedings. "What is the logic behind Congress and other parties raising this issue? They are saying people are suffering, ATMs are not functioning. Then why are you not discussing these issues in the House? Why you are not allowing a debate?" he asked. We want the Opposition make its stand clear, he said.
M Post Bureau

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