National

PM asks parties to unite in national interest

Gearing up: An all-party meet in progress ahead of the winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Tuesday. The Centre expects a washout of at least a week-and-a-half of an already truncated session over the demonetisation issue. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday appealed to all political parties to let a “signal go from the winter session of Parliament that all parties can come together on an issue of national interest,” referring to his decision to demonetise currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 on November 8, at an all-party meeting called by his government on the eve of the session, which begins on Wednesday.

The Opposition, however, strongly demanded an honest debate on demonetisation, as the suffering of the common people on the ground was getting worse by the day. It also wanted to know whether or not members of the ruling party had been tipped off before the announcement of the decision.

Government managers said they were ready for a debate but apprehended a washout of at least a week and a half of an already abbreviated session of 22 sittings.

Senior Ministers said that all attempts would be made to clear the amendments to the Goods and Services Tax Bill in this session. “Prime Minister Modi requested all parties that the winter session should be fully utilised for debate and to raise all issues pertaining to public good. He said that a message should go out, in the manner of the way it was over the GST Bill, that all parties can come together on an issue of national interest,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, briefing reporters after the meeting.

Transparent funding

According to him, the Prime Minister had, in order to take his government’s “war on corruption” further, asked leaders of all parties present at the meeting to look into ways of making political funding transparent and debate state funding of elections.

“All parties should take the lead and help remove the negative perception of people in public life,” said Mr. Ananth Kumar quoting Prime Minister Modi. The government, he said, was ready to answer every question. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, however castigated the government on its “hasty” demonetisation decision, without adequate preparation. He also referred to apprehensions in some quarters that there was a “selective leakage of the decision to several people including members of the BJP.”

“Several reports have been circulating that before November 8 (the date of announcement of demonetisation) money had been taken out. There has to be an enquiry. There appears to have been an economic surgical strike all right, killing every other party before crucial Assembly polls, only leaving the ruling party in the fray,” he told the media after the meeting.

‘Govt. was fully prepared’

Mr. Modi had left the meeting by the time Mr. Azad raised this ‘leak’ issue, but Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the government had been “fully prepared before announcing the decision despite the strict requirement of secrecy to be maintained.”

Communist Party of India MP, D. Raja, pointed out that the session, with only 22 sittings had been overloaded with government business, at least 25 Bills, and that the government should be accommodative to the Opposition’s concerns and the people’s suffering.


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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 3:31:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/PM-asks-parties-to-unite-in-national-interest/article16643099.ece

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