Parliament on Tuesday saw yet another day of washout with an aggressive Opposition raking up a fresh demand for Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of each of those who died due to problems post demonetisation. The Opposition also pressed for presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the debate on the issue.
Neither the Rajya Sabha nor the Lok Sabha could transact any business due to continuous uproar and pandemonium, leading to their premature adjournment. This was the fourth straight working day of Parliament to be wasted.
In the Lok Sabha, the opposition, which was joined by AIADMK in targeting the government, continued to press for a debate under a rule which entails voting even as the ruling side vehemently resisted it.
Amid noisy Opposition protests, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar maintained that the government was willing to debate every aspect of the issue.
Parliament Day 5 | Currency ban debate: Senior ministers meet FM Jaitley over demonetisation; Houses adjourn amid ruckus
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Trinamool Congress’ Sudip Bandhopadhyay said they wanted a debate but demanded the Prime Minister’s presence.
Due to the uproar, the House was adjourned for the day, just after noon.
In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition parties unitedly stalled proceedings by maintaining that debate on demonetisation cannot be resumed until the Prime Minister is present in the House.
They also raked up a fresh demand that compensation of Rs 10 lakh should be paid to the kin of each of the “70 people” who died due to problems after notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 were scrapped.
The rare show of unity in opposition camp saw Congress and TMC coordinating and arch rivals of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh SP and BSP jointly shouting slogans.
The treasury benches countered them by shouting demands for resumption of the debate on the issue.
The House was repeatedly adjourned before the final one at minutes past 3 PM.
No sooner were the listed papers laid on the table at the start of the day’s proceedings, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said the government should pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to kin of the 70 people who lost their lives due to hardships caused by withdrawal of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.
Naresh Agarwal (SP) and Mayawati (BSP) said Modi should be called before starting discussion on the demonetisation.
“He should come and listen to the pain people have faced because of his decision,” Mayawati said.
Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Cong) said the opposition is ready for discussion on the issue but Prime Minister should come to the House first.
As he spoke, members of the BJP moved into the aisles raising slogans.
At this point, TMC members carrying placards of “Financial Emergency” trooped into the Well, with Congress members following suit.
As opposition members shouted slogans from the Well, Kurien said, “You cannot speak in the Well. Shouting in the Well is of no use. If you go back to your seats, I will give you time (to speak).”
He told Azad that he was ready to accept his notice under Rule 267 seeking suspension of business if only there is order in the House.
As BJP members also created a ruckus, an angry Kurien said, “Why should treasury benches do this? Mr Minister, why should treasury benches to this?” He was addressing Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
Terming the ruckus as “blatant indiscipline”, he said, “Both sides do not want discussion. Not only the opposition but treasury benches are also disrupting the proceedings. That is very unfortunate.” He then adjourned it till 11.30 AM.
When the House reassembled, Agarwal (SP) alleged that Modi does not listen and such a “dictatorial attitude” has never been successful.
This led to noisy protests by BJP members. The Deputy Chairman again said “I fail to understand why treasury benches were disrupting” the proceedings.
To this, Naqvi said government only wants resumption of debate on demonetisation, which started on November 16.
Amid uproar, the Leader of Opposition said 70 people have died due to the “wrong decision” of the Prime Minister.
“Opposition is for discussion and debate. (Our) demand for (presence) of the Prime Minister in the House is not anti-national,” said Aza, a senior Congress leader.
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said Modi should be present in the House since he had made the demonetisation announcement.
Kurien said he understood the demand that the Prime Minister should intervene or reply to the debate, but “your demand that he should be here is not possible”.
Azad again said the entire opposition wanted the discussion on demonetisation to resume, but the Prime Minister should come to the House and listen to the concern of the MPs.
“He (Prime Minister) can speak outside, why cannot he speak in the House,” Azad asked.
In an effort to bring order in the House, Kurien said during the discussion each member can demand for presence of the Prime Minister in the House.
Mayawati also demanded compensation for those who reportedly died following demonetisation.
As uproar continued, Kurien said he can call the Finance Minister in the House as the matter relates to the Finance Ministry, but not the Prime Minister.
As Congress, TMC and BSP members trooped into the Well, the Chair was forced to adjourn the House till noon.
When the House resumed proceedings at noon, Chairman Hamid Ansari called for Question Hour but the protesting Opposition members kept demanding the presence of the Prime Minister in the House, as TMC members trooped into the Well.
With continued ruckus, the House was adjourned for the third time for 30 minutes.
When the House met again for Question Hour at around 12.30 PM, members from opposition including Congress, SP, BSP, JD(U), CPI and CPI(M) resumed shouting.
Ansari asked Prem Chand Gupta (RJD) to ask his listed question on lack of medical services in rural areas. He spoke but nothing could be heard due to the din.
Amid constant din in the House, Ansari adjourned the House till 2 PM. Same situation was witnessed again at 2 PM and the House was adjourned for the day.