Parliament stalled even as PM attends
For the 11th consecutive day, Opposition stalled Parliament on Thursday even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the Rajya Sabha, a demand they have been making for resumption of debate on demonetisation.
Changing stance, the Opposition now demanded apology from the Prime Minister for his utterances in which he had targeted those opposing demonetisation and created uproar after it was rejected.
The initial part of both the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha saw concern being expressed over a problem faced by a commercial plane carrying Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee while landing at Kolkata airport last night.
Sharing the concern about Mamata's well-being, the government said a probe will be conducted into the incident.
When Question Hour began and Chairman Hamid Ansari called for the first question of the day, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while the Prime Minister has been addressing his party MPs in Parliament House and even speaking outside, the Opposition parties have been demanding his presence during the debate on demonetisation issue.
Modi sat through the Question Hour on a day which has questions listed against his name. Subsequently, he was present in the post-lunch session at 2 pm as well.
"We had been demanding for last 15 days (presence of PM)....We are against blackmoney. We want to speak on this issue but with whom? Our anguish is that the Prime Minister is holding weekly meetings with his MPs in Parliament House. He is also speaking outside. Our demand is that the Prime Minister should be here and listen to us," Azad said.
Azad said the Opposition demand for the presence of the Prime Minister was "a small demand" and "neither anti-national nor anti-Constitution."
When the senior Congress leader also alleged that the PM has remarked that the Opposition parties support blackmoney holders and said it was a "big allegation", BJP members protested the remark.
Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu insisted that the House should continue with the debate on demonetisation, which started on November 16, the first day of the Winter session.
Ansari also said that the debate has not been concluded and called the listed speaker A U Singh Deo (BJD) to start.
Sharad Yadav (JDU) said he too agreed that the debate should continue, but it "cannot be one-way traffic" and demanded that the Prime Minister should remain seated in the House all through the discussion.
"Why are you assuming that he (PM) will not participate," Ansari asked the Opposition member.
As Singh Deo rose to speak on demonetisation, Congress members started raising slogans like "Pradhan Mantri Mafi Maango (PM should apologise)" from the aisles.
Naidu said the Prime Minister is here and the unfinished debate should be resumed. However amid din, the House was adjourned for 15 minutes.
When it reassembled at 1229 hours, Congress members were again on their feet raising slogans as BJD member started to speak on the debate, which was initiated on November 16 and remained inconclusive as the House was stalled.
The debate had resumed briefly on November 24 for one hour but could not proceed further due to continuous din.
Amid noisy scenes, Deo said, “We support any move taken by the Government of India for corruption and black money.”
But as the sloganeering continued, Ansari adjourned the House till 1400 hours. Uproar by the Opposition members continued when the House reconvened.
With the Prime Minister present in the House as demanded by the Opposition for days, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien went ahead to resume discussion on demonitisation.
However, Congress leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi said Modi never came to the House but always spoke outside the Parliament.