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Protests by united Oppn leads to RS adjournment till 2 PM

New Delhi : Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha today closed ranks to demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in the House to reply to the debate on hardships caused by his decision to ban old 500 and 1000 rupee notes, forcing adjournment of proceedings twice.

The uproarious scenes led to the adjournment of the proceedings first till noon and then till 1400 hours.

BSP leader Mayawati went to the extent of seeking an apology from Modi for speaking outside the House when Parliament is in session, while the Congress demanded a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to go into the “sudden announcement” of demonetisation of 86 per cent of the currency in circulation.

While the BJP members too shouted slogans seeking resumption of discussion on the issue that started on November 16, opposition members led by Congress and TMC trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans demanding that Prime Minister be called to the House, forcing Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to adjourn the proceedings till 1200 hours.

Soon after obituary references and laying of the listed papers, Sharad Yadav (JD-U) said when the Prime Minister says the demonetisation decision was taken in national interest, why is no compensation being paid to over 75 people who died because of hardships caused by it.

Naresh Agarwal (SP) said if Prime Minister does not have the time to come to the House, arrangements should be made for an online interface, an oblique reference to Modi using video conferencing to address events held in far-off places.

Mayawati (BSP) sought the Chair’s protection in getting Prime Minister to speak on the issue inside the House and not outside when the Parliament is in session.

By speaking outside, he has “insulted” the House and breached its privilege, she alleged and added: “Prime Minister should be called to the House… he must apologise why he is speaking outside.”

Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said Modi was violating the Consitution by not answering questions in the institution (Parliament) he is accounatable to.

Anand Sharma (Cong) said even during financial emergency, the government cannot restrict citizens from accessing their own bank accounts like the way severe restrictions have been imposed on withdrawal from own account after the November 8 decision.

“He has created financial anarchy. Prime Minister must come” and answer questions on hardships caused, he said.

Naresh Agarwal (SP) alleged that since even Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was not taken into confidence, he may not be able to reply to the debate on the issue. So the Chair should call Prime Minister to the House, he added.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said Prime Minister cannot make statements on policy decisions outside the House when Parliament is in session and went on to ask the Chair to give a ruling on Modi repeatedly speaking outside the House.

Soon Congress members trooped into the Well, carrying placards saying “We want JPC on demonetisation”.

Kurien asked members to resume the debate started last week, suggesting that all points the Opposition has been raising can be mentioned there.

“How do you know Prime Minister will may not come… Start the discussion, Prime Minister may come,” he said.

But the members were unrelenting, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 1200 hours.

Soon after the House met at noon, Chairman Hamid Ansari asked members to allow the Question Hour to be taken up but a vociferous opposition created uproar and rushed to the Well again raising slogans.

Members from Congress, TMC, Left, DMK, NCP, SP and BSP demanded the presence of Prime Minister in the House and asked the Chairman to do so before the discussion on demonetisation was resumed.

“Prime Minister should be called to the House, this is the sense of the House,” said Naresh Agarwal (SP), with other members joining him to urge the Chairman to ask for the PM’s presence.

“Don’t get into all this. Please allow the Question Hour to run. Let us get on with the Question Hour,” Ansari said, with a resounding ‘No’ from the opposition benches.

As pandemonium prevailed in the House amid opposition members shouting slogans in the Well, which was countered by some members of the treasury benches.

The Chairman’s pleas fell on deaf ears as opposition members continued with their uproar, forcing the Chairman to adjourn the House till 2 PM.

PTI