Demonetisation rocks both houses of Parl
Parliament was paralysed on Thursday over demonetisation, with Rajya Sabha witnessing a sharp clash over certain remarks by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, leaving a debate on the issue incomplete in the House which had a lively discussion on Wednesday
Opposition parties, led by Congress, created uproar in both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha as soon as the Houses met for the day and it continued throughout.
The Lok Sabha could carry out business only during the Question Hour, that too amid the uproar, after which it was adjourned for the day minutes past 12 PM. The Rajya Sabha could not transact any business. A united opposition’s relentless demand for a debate on demonetisation under a rule which entails voting today forced the adjournment of the Lok Sabha for the day as the government refused to accept it.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was willing to debate the issue under Rule 193, which does not entail voting, as it did not want two voices to emerge from Parliament, drawing incessant protests from the opposition.
As opposition parties refused to budge, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned proceedings for the day after a 25-minute adjournment earlier. The House was adjourned on Wednesday as a mark of respect for a sitting member who had passed away in August. As soon as the House met, Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandhyopadhyay said his party wanted to move an adjournment motion.
Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said his party too wanted to move a similar motion to discuss the “hardship being faced by the people and the economic disruption and the failure of the government to redress the plight of the people.”
He said another issue his party wanted to flag was the “leakage” of the information on demonetisation before it came into force.
In the Upper House, which witnessed about six-hour-long debate on demonetisation on Wednesday, Congress and some other opposition parties pressed, from the word go, for the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the House and a response from him over the hardships caused to people by the November 8 decision to make Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes invalid.
The uproar forced repeated adjournments of the House, whose proceedings for the day were ended minutes past 3 PM following a major clash between opposition and ruling members after Congress leader Azad compared Uri terror attack casualties to the number of deaths which occurred due to demonetisation “crisis”. Taking strong objection to this, the ruling side termed the comments as “anti-national” and demanded an apology from Congress besides seeking deletion of the remarks from the official records of the Upper House.
Kurien tried to continue the debate on demonetisation, but as his repeated attempts failed, he adjourned the House for the day, minutes past 3 PM.