BJP goes on the offensive, Opposition waits for the kill
Shifting gears on the orders of the high command, the treasury benches went on an offensive in the Upper House on Wednesday blaming opposition for not allowing debate on demonetization and in the process wasting more than Rs. 70 crores of government’s exchequers by obstructing 65 hours of Rajya Sabha alone.
The tone of the offensive was set by leader of the house Arun Jaitley who blamed the opposition parties for tactically raising the issue of demonetization for two minutes during the zero hour for television coverage and then not allowing an elaborate discussion to take place in the house.
“It seems the opposition just wants to disrupt proceedings for one reason or the other. If the opposition have guts I challenge them to start the discussion immediately,” said Jaitley.
Jaitley intervened after leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad lashed out on the government for causing death of 84 people in different parts of the country because of ill planned demonetization.
“My question is who is responsible for these deaths? When revenue secretary said that all our money will come back in the banking system then where is black money? And for what did you line up the whole India in queues? Why lakhs of people are getting unemployed? Why Reserve Bank of India has stopped giving figures of currency collection for the past 10 days?” said Azad attracting furore from the treasury benches.
The house broke into pandemonium when Naresh Agarwal of Samajwadi Party said they (the opposition) would allow the house to function only once the “government apologises for putting the whole country in queue” and BSP leader Mayawati sought an apology from the PM for slapping “wrong allegation on the opposition”.
Putting deputy chairman P J Kurien in a dilemma, members of the treasury benches got together and started shouting slogans, “Himmat Hai Toh Charcha Karo (If you have guts, start discussion)”.
The house kept adjourning repeatedly thereafter as the opposition kept up its demand that it would allow the house to function and continue the unfinished discussion only when the Prime Minister comes and sits through the whole debate.
Sources in the opposition parties, however, said they will not push the government beyond a point and would allow the discussion to take place next week.
“Our members are well prepared and want to use the platform of parliament to send their viewpoint on demonetization across the public,” said senior MP from Congress.
The opposition parties perceive that by next week they would hold an advantage as the pangs of cash crunch would have changed the situation on the ground and there won’t be much sympathy left for the government.
ReportIndiaManan KumarDNANew Delhi
- Arun Jaitley
- Ghulam Nabi Azad
- Reserve Bank of India
- Naresh Agarwal
- Rajya Sabha
- Samajwadi Party
- War on Black Money