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  India   All India  16 Nov 2016  Parliament: Under political fire, BJP says India with PM on note ban

Parliament: Under political fire, BJP says India with PM on note ban

Published : Nov 16, 2016, 10:36 am IST
Updated : Nov 16, 2016, 6:15 pm IST

Oppn also plans to rake surgical strikes, unrest in Kashmir, OROP and plight of farmers this winter session.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: ANI/Twitter)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: ANI/Twitter)

New Delhi: Lok Sabha was adjourned on Wednesday, the first day of the Winter Session after obituary references, but the debate on the government's decision on demonetisation began in Rajya Sabha as the political class prepared to fight it out on the floor of the House.

In the Rajya Sabha, Opposition Congress tore into the government’s decision to ban big notes, stating the common man has suffered most due to this move.

Congress leader Anand Sharma said the move had held the common man of India ‘criminals’ as they have to line up in endless queues outside banks to take out their own money. “Why wasn’t the government better prepared to tackle the aftermath of demonetisation? Why were there no cash in banks? Why weren’t the ATMs recalibrated?”

Congress claimed the government had a list of those with black money in Swiss Banks and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi reveal their names.

The government retaliated sharply, with BJP leader Piyush Goel stating this step was a celebration of honesty. He said the hardship faced by the people was temporary. “The people of the country are ready to suffer a little because they know this step has been taken by Narendra Modi to fight black money, corruption, drugs and terrorism,” he said.

He added: "Many are facing trouble due to demonetisation and we sympathise with them, but we will have to make sacrifices to eliminate black money. Despite this hardship, India is supporting PM Modi’s decision to demonetise big notes."

There was, however, a clamour from the Opposition for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the Rajya Sabha debate on demonetisation. 

Prime Minister Modi had earlier made an appeal to the Opposition to have a ‘fruitful’ Winter Session of Parliament. 

“In the Winter Session, a very positive discussion will happen and on all issues with contribution of all parties. In the last session, an important bill like GST was passed, it was a big step. I had thanked all parties then,” Modi said.

But the attack was fierce from the Opposition as all parties spoke about the problems the aam janta was facing, while critiquing the efficacy of this note ban.

“This is the first time I have seen people turning into beggars despite money in their banks,” Samajwadi Party’s Ram Gopal Yadav said. He added, “Ten to twelve per cent of the people in this country hold 90% of the country’s wealth. Can you tell me if even a single person from that 10-12% is standing in queues outside banks?”

AIADMK leader Satyanarayan Jatiya said his chief Jayalalithaa was against black money but the Central government’s move to demonetisation was punishing those who have nothing to do with illegal transactions.

JDU chief Sharad Yadav accused the Centre of “shutting down India for many days”. “It’s as if the government has pushed all Indians out of a running train,” Yadav said.

CPI(M) chief Sitaram Yechury said: “Black money is not going to be solved by this (demonetisation). Black money is not a stock, it keeps flowing. This way you are killing the small fish, whereas the crocodiles are enjoying their lives.”

Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu defended the government’s decision, saying: “Terrorists, smugglers, Maoists, separatists etc are using black and counterfeit money -- is that their fundamental right? Congress must take a stand whether they support or not support the notes ban.”

He said the ban would put an end to counterfeit currency, to aiding, abetting and terror funding. “I know there is heartburn and some are angry with Prime Minister Modi. He is not just the tallest leader in India, but is being recognised as that in the world,” Naidu said.

Naidu also reminded the Congress of the big scams that took place under its rule, adding it was time to wage war on black money.

In the afternoon, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee led her team and leaders of the Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, AAP and National Conference in a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan against demonetisation.

It is learnt several Opposition parties, including the Congress, were planning to bring adjournment motions on demonetisation in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

The Winter Session of Parliament is expected to be a stormy one as the Opposition has planned to corner the government over the issue of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denomination notes.

Opposition parties have also planned to pin the government down on a list of other issues, including surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control, the unrest in Kashmir, OROP and the plight of farmers.

Various parties have separately given adjournment notices in the Lok Sabha. They have also given notice for suspension of proceedings in the Rajya Sabha to discuss the issue and highlight the plight of the common man.

The government had also made it clear it would not shy away from discussing any issue. Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the opposition parties to put forth their arguments in a fruitful manner in order to ensure smooth passage of business during the session.

Tags: demonetisation, winter session
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi