Opposition to corner Centre on demonetisation fallout

Activists during a protest against demonetisation in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Activists during a protest against demonetisation in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

The Congress and seven other opposition parties met on Monday — ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament beginning November 16 — to formulate a joint strategy to put the government on the mat on a range of issues including the demonetisation move that has caused great inconvenience to the people, especially the poor .

After the meeting, Congress deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said, “There is broad consensus that the demonetisation issue should be raised in Parliament.”

However, with many leaders not available, the opposition parties will meet again on Tuesday afternoon to finalise their plans. The Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party are busy campaigning for the Uttar Pradesh elections and the DMK, AIADMK, NCP and AAP were unrepresented on Monday.

Janata Dal(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who was present at the meeting, told The Hindu, “We are hoping to build the sort of opposition unity that we had on the Land Acquisition Act.” The cohesion then had forced the Modi government to replace its draft Bill with one that satisfied the Opposition.

On Monday, apart from Mr Yadav, others present at the meeting included the CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, the TMC’s Sudip Bandopadhyay and Derek O'Brien, the CPI’s D. Raja, the RJD’s Prem Chand Gupta, the JMM’s Sushil Kumar and the YSR Congress’s M. Rajamohan Reddy. The Congress was represented by Mr. Sharma and leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. The leaders also met Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad in Parliament House.

The focus of their discussion was on steps to unitedly confront the government on the demonetisation move that had had caused great hardships to the common man. Other subjects discussed included the stalemate between the government and the judiciary that had resulted in many vacancies not being filled as well as the grave situation that farmers across the country were facing.

Rivals on the same page

If the meeting saw arch rivals TMC and the CPI(M) coming together on a common platform, there was some heartburn among the opposition leaders gathered there that TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had independently sought time with President Pranab Mukherjee. “We should have all gone together,” said a senior opposition leader at the meeting.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Ms. Banerjee, now apparently to forget her rivalry with the Left, tweeted her opposition after Prime Minister Narendra Modi justified the demonetisation move in Ghazipur. “The PM said the poor are sleeping peacefully. This is an insult to commoners. My humble suggestion is not to hit the common people like this.”

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Printable version | Sep 30, 2020 4:00:38 PM |

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