Demonetisation issue brings Parliament to a halt

Members protest in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Opposition and the Government clashed over the demonetisation issue on Thursday, bringing both Houses to a halt. The Lok Sabha functioned only for question hour amid a steady uproar, adjourning for the day well before 1 p.m.

The Rajya Sabha, meanwhile, was repeatedly adjourned, as the Congress-led Opposition mounted a sharp and relentless attack on the government: this was in sharp contrast to the peaceful discussion on Wednesday.

In the Upper House, the Opposition made it clear it was not satisfied merely with responses from Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, even as remarks made by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad about the Uri terror attack in the context of demonetisation forced the final adjournment for the day.

The Lok Sabha on Thursday witnessed continuous disruptions before being adjourned for the day, with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan turning down the Opposition’s demand for an adjournment motion on the demonetisation issue.

As soon as the proceedings started, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that the Chair accept the adjournment motion but Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anant Kumar said the government was only ready for a debate under Rule 193. Neither side yielded, and the Congress and other Opposition MPs continued to shout slogans.

Ms. Mahajan then said Opposition MPs did not seem to want a discussion and only sought to disrupt the House. Eventually, the House was adjourned till 12.30 p.m.

When the Lok Sabha reassembled, Mr. Kharge again raised the demand for an adjournment motion.

Ms. Mahajan simply said, “I have disallowed the adjournment.” The uproar continued unabated, and the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

In the Rajya Sabha that witnessed a six-hour-long debate on demonetisation on Wednesday, the Opposition had pressed for the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the House and a response from him.

On Thursday, as the discussion continued, the Rajya Sabha was repeatedly adjourned as Opposition MPs rushed into the well.

Elders demand response from PM

Opposition MPs on Thursday rushed into the well of the Rajya Sabha repeatedly, shouting slogans demanding response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the demonetisation controversy. At one stage they were heard shouting, “Pradhan mantri jawab do.”

The Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien said his party wanted voting after the debate; immediately after that he made some remarks that saw the ruling party benches rise to object. To which Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu was heard saying: “He (the Prime Minister) is very much here. ...(Interruptions)... He is in the House of the People. ...(Interruptions)... He is very much here.”

Pacification attempt

After Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien tried to pacify the House, Mr. Naidu said: “A reference is made by Shri Derek O’Brien about the Prime Minister. ...(Interruptions)... That has to be deleted from the record. ...(Interruptions)... The Prime Minister is an institution. ...(Interruptions)... Similarly, yesterday, some comparison was made with Hitler, Mussolini and other leaders by Shri Pramod Tiwari. ...(Interruptions)... That has to be deleted. ...(Interruptions)... I told him also just now. ...(Interruptions)...

To this, Mr. Kurien said: “Hon. Prime Minister cannot be referred to like that; .. ...(Interruptions)... Can we address him like that? ...(Interruptions)... We should keep such decorum. ...(Interruptions)... Therefore, any such reference to the hon. Prime Minister is expunged. ...(Interruptions)... Also, I have taken note of what has been said in yesterday’s speech. If there are some comments like that, I will go through it and expunge it.”

The House was then adjourned till 12 noon.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 7:59:28 AM |

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