New Delhi: Deadlock continued in both Houses on Monday over the issue of demonetisation as the opposition parties demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in Parliament.
While opposition parties protested against the ban of Rs500 and Rs1,000 currency notes inside Parliament, they also took to the streets for a nationwide protest, called ‘Akrosh’ rally, against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s decision. Opposition parties including Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal also protested in front of the Gandhi statue in Parliament.
Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also led a protest march against demonetisation in Kolkata.
Earlier in the day, opposition parties met in Parliament to discuss a floor strategy against the government, while Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi chaired a strategic meeting of Congress Lok Sabha MPs before the proceedings of the House started.
Speaking on the nationwide protest, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the Rajya Sabha, “When the 18 parties of the opposition met, we decided that we will hold an akrosh rally and there was no mention of a Bharat bandh. That was brought up by the PM. This protest is to bring out the akrosh that is being faced by the labourers, daily wagers, women.”
Demanding the Prime Minister’s presence in the House, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the akrosh rally was popular anger against what is happening in the country.
“Let the PM come here for discussion. Where is the PM? He made the announcement, he should come to the House,” he said in the Rajya Sabha.
Protests over the PM’s absence from Parliament also continued in the Lok Sabha. “More than 70 people have died, and more than 1,000 people have been injured. This deadlock can only end when the PM comes for discussion in the house,” said Mapanna Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha.
Joining him was Samjawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who also said that the Prime Minister should come to Parliament and speak up about what led to this decision of demonetisation. “The entire country is suffering. There is no water, no seeds for farmers and it is the poor and farmers who are suffering the most. If farmers are destroyed, the country is destroyed,” he said in the Lok Sabha.
Assuring the opposition about the Prime Minister’s participation in the demonetisation debate in Parliament, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said that the Prime Minister will come to the House for debate and will make an intervention if and when required.
“Not one person in the country will question the government’s intention behind this decision. If people have had problems with implementation then we are ready to discuss this since day one. We have taken the decision for the greater good of the nation. PM will come if the opposition wants and he will speak and intervene wherever possible and required in the debate,” he said in the Lok Sabha.
Both the houses have been adjourned till 2pm, amid uproar over demonetisation.