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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Lok Sabha adjourned over demonetisation issue

The government is willing to discuss the demonetisation issue, says parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar

New Delhi: The Lok Sabha on Friday adjourned for the day and Rajya Sabha till 2.30pm as a relentless opposition and the government clashed over the demonetisation issue.

As soon as the House met for the day, leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge demanded that the issue of scrapping of Rs1,000 and Rs500 denomination notes be discussed through an adjournment motion and not the rule proposed by the government.

Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said the government was willing to discuss the issue and there was no need to press for an adjournment motion. When he said the entire nation was with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of demonetisation, a united opposition raised slogans and rushed into the well.

Members of the Congress, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Left parties were seen in the well of the House. “You don’t want to run the House," Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said adjourning the proceedings for nearly 50 minutes till noon. Amid the din, only one question could be taken up during the Question Hour.

In the Rajya Sabha, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members clashed over leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks made during the demonetisation debate on Thursday, forcing adjournment of the House thrice in quick succession.

Slogans and counter slogans forced the adjournment of the House first till 11.30am, then till noon and again till 2.30pm as similar scenes continued.

Soon after listed papers were laid on the table of the House, BJP members moved into aisles shouting slogans and demanding an apology from Azad for his remarks comparing the deaths after demonetisation with those killed in terrorist attacks. The remarks were expunged by the Chair on Thursday itself.

Members of the Congress too rushed into the well raising slogans demanding an apology from the prime minister and the government for the hardship caused to the common man due to withdrawal of 86% of the currency in circulation in the form of old Rs500 and Rs1,000 notes.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members were also in the well of the House, raising slogans over the Cauvery water issue.

Deputy chairman P.J. Kurien asked all members to leave the well of the House and return to their seats, assuring them that he would hear their submissions.

Amid the din, minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that Azad’s statement had given a message to the country that the Congress was sympathetic to terrorism and asked why was it so agitated when the demonetisation drive was only to hurt black money hoarders.

The Chair persuaded members of the AIADMK and the Congress to withdraw from the well, telling them that he would give opportunity to their leaders to raise their respective issues.

But with the BJP members continuing to stand in the aisles and raising slogans, the Congress members too went back to the well shouting slogans.

Kurien said treasury benches should not create problems for the Chair. “If you do this, what do I do? You should cooperate with me in running the House. Treasury benches should not disrupt," he said.

But the din continued, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 11.30am. There was no change in the scenario when the House re-assembled as both the BJP and the Congress members again started raising slogans.

While the Congress members trooped into the well of the House, several AIADMK members were seen standing along their seats. As the slogans and counter slogans continued, the Chair adjourned the House till 2.30pm.

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