Winter Session: Opposition parties meet to finalise strategy, say demonetization is ‘scripted scam’

Winter Session: Opposition parties meet to finalise strategy, say demonetization is ‘scripted scam’

New Delhi: Seeking to corner the government in Parliament on the demonetization issue, major opposition parties, including arch rivals TMC and CPI(M), today held deliberations to finalise a common strategy alleging that the decision was a “scripted scam” which was leaked to the ruling BJP much in advance.

The meeting, held in the chamber of Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, saw rivals TMC and Left coming together with leaders of YSR Congress, JMM, RJD and JDU to discuss ways to put the Government on the mat in Parliament. The leaders decided to meet again tomorrow to finalise a common strategy as today’s meeting remained inconclusive in absence of leaders from BSP, SP, DMK and NCP. The Winter Session of Parliament starts from November 16.

After the meeting, Azad said there was consensus among parties against black money but equally everyone felt that the Government had leaked the demonetization information to the ruling BJP and a “scripted scam”. “There was consensus against black money in the meeting but everyone was against the way demonetization was implemented. It came suddenly and the information was leaked to the ruling party while other parties learnt of it only two hours before it was to roll out. This is a scam and we will raise it in Parliament,” Azad said.

Asked if opposition parties will join the TMC delegation to the President on November 16, Azad said, “The question is not who is going with them or who is leading. The question is when to go, which date to go, whether to go mid-session or later.”

To a question about whether there was consensus on anything in the meeting, Azad said there was consensus on questioning the Government over the way the decision was leaked to the ruling party.

“There is a difference between us and the Government so far as logic of demonetization goes. The Government says it has done what it has done whether people live or die. We are saying we are against black money but also against the way demonetization was implemented.

“The government leaked it to the ruling party. Rest of the parties were told only two hours in advance. People are also being inconvenienced all over. We will meet again tomorrow to discuss these issues since all parties were not present today. We don’t have to evolve a one day strategy. It has to be a strategy for the whole session,” said Azad

As the opposition appeared undecided on the ways to raise

the matter in Parliament, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the meeting today sought that Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes be permitted for white transactions till December 31, to help people.

Asked if CPI(M) will join TMC during a visit to the President, Yechury said, “Most parties agreed that the issue must first be raised in Parliament. Everyone has given notices. We will ask the government to allow old currency notes to be legal tender for all public utilities and essential item purchases till December 31.” JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said leaders of the opposition parties would hold talks again tomorrow and that all were united.

“Our attempt is to put up a united opposition. We will let you know about our course of action,” he said. CPI leader D Raja said the government’s decision on demonetization has triggered “unprecedented hardship and sufferings” for the common people and the opposition will put up a united front against it. “The government cannot doubt the common people as dishonest. The decision is affecting a large section of public and it needs to be raised in Parliament. There is consensus on this. Tomorrow several other parties will be meeting and will further hold discussion on the issue,” he said.

Congress leader Anand Sharma, attacking Modi, said he has subjected farmers, labourers, housewives and the poor people to a situation which is “unprecedented”. Referring to Modi’s emotion-laced speech in Goa yesterday, Sharma said, “The Prime Minister has mastered the art of theatrics. He continues to insult those who are standing in queues. “He is insensitive. We feel the manner in which the demonetization has been done is a scam as BJP leaders were informed about it far in advance,” he said.