Parliament storm brewing over demonetisation

Demonetisation is set to dominate the winter session of Parliament beginning on November 16, with President Pranab Mukherjee agreeing to hear Opposition delegations, either on Wednesday or Thursday, on the issue.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has called the customary all-party meet on Monday.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee spoke to President Mukherjee over phone on the issue, and tweeted that she had briefed him about how common people are suffering because of demonetisation. I thank him for agreeing to meet representatives of political parties on November 16 or 17 when we will brief him in detail over the grim situation.”

The Trinamool Congress, Ms. Banerjee’s party, seems to have taken the lead in opposing demonetisation, with its Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien sending a notice for a discussion on the issue in the Upper House.

She took what is seen as an unprecedented step in calling up arch political rival Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to canvass support.

With the Parliament session set to begin on Wednesday, nearly a week after the decision to demonetise currency notes of the denominations Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000, this is being seen as an important issue on which the Opposition would attempt to corner the government.

The government appeared sanguine at the prospects of a heated winter session.

“The government has no hesitation in discussing any issue that the Opposition may choose to raise,” said Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. He criticised the Trinamool and other parties opposing demonetisation.

“If the government has taken such a strong measure against black money, shouldn’t other political parties unite in support of it instead of uniting to oppose it?” he said.

Naqvi says govt. has no hesitation in discussing any issue that the Opposition may choose to raise

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