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Why is PM not coming for debate, says Oppn; Parliament paralysed again

New Delhi: A united Opposition on Monday continued to disrupt proceedings in Rajya Sabha over hardships caused to the people due to demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, forcing it to adjourn for the day.

Congress, TMC and BSP members trooped into the Well shouting slogans against the government, forcing proceedings to be adjourned first for 30 minutes and then till noon.

Soon after the House mourned the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and the listed papers were laid, Naresh Agrawal (SP) said nationwide protest is being observed today against demonetisation that has caused hardships to common man.

‘All India Protest’, called Aakrosh Diwas, has been called to highlight the hardships, he said as other opposition leaders including Mayawati (BSP), Derek O’Brien (TMC), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Anand Sharma (Cong) joined in.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the nation was seething in anger over the hardship and harassment caused because of the announcement made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8.

Soon Congress and TMC members trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans against the Prime Minister. Ruling benches also joined him by shouting slogans favouring start of a discussion on the issue.

I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rose to state that the discussion which had started on the opening day of the Winter Session of Parliament on November 16 and has not yet concluded, should be resumed, instead of such disruption of proceedings.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien agreed with the suggestion of Naidu but the din continued, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings for half an hour.

When the House met after adjournment, the Opposition was again on their feet shouting slogans like ‘Janta Ka Paisa Janta Ko Do’ (Give money to the people, it is their’s).

Deputy Chairman Kurien insisted that the discussion on the demonetisation be resumed, when Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) asked “Why is the Prime Minister not coming (to the House)?”

“You start. The Prime Minister will come. How do you know that the Prime Minister will not come,” Kurien said, adding that it is already on the record that the Prime Minister will speak on the issue.

As the Opposition members kept shouting slogans in the Well, the Chair adjourned the House till noon.

When the House reassembled at noon for Question Hour, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he wanted to “make it clear” that 18 Opposition parties have decided to observe ‘Jan Akrosh Divas’ today.

“We did not discuss anything on Bharat Bandh. If anyone has raised the issue of Bharat Bandh, it is the Prime Minister. He is responsible for Bharat Bandh.”

“We are observing this day as ‘Jan Aakrosh Divas’ to raise the ‘aakrosh’ (anguish) across the country. There is ‘aakrosh’ (anger) among the youth, the women and the old against this new policy of demonetisation,” Azad said, adding that so far 75 people have lost their lives due to the government’s decision to go for demonetisation.

The senior Congress leader also said a 96-year old man had died while standing in a queue outside a bank in Chennai and also the death of a young girl who did not have money for her wedding.

Earlier, when Ansari allowed Azad to speak, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rose to take up an issue saying “we need to raise a point”.

Ansari, however, said the floor has already been given to Azad and if the government has a point it would be allowed later.

Amid the din raised by treasury benches, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the proceedings till 1400 hours “because the House is not being allowed to run”.

Meanwhile, a vociferous Opposition in the Lok Sabha continued their protests against the government over the demonetisation issue, forcing adjournment of the proceedings till noon.

When the Rajya Sabha resumed, Ghulam Nabi Azad attacked the government, saying that the PM had broken protocol by not speaking in Parliament on demonetisation on the first day of the Winter Session.

Hitting back, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the Opposition only wants to speak but not to listen to the government.

Opposition parties have been stepping up their protests against the government’s decision to withdraw old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and are also observing ‘Jan Aakrosh Diwas’ across the country on Monday.

Lok Sabha has witnessed a virtual washout of proceedings since the Winter Session started on November 16 due to the protests over the demonetisation issue.