A disunited Oppn takes up note ban issue with President

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Former PM Manmohan Singh, TMC member Sudip Bandyopadhyay and other opposition leaders handing over memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee, December 16, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Former PM Manmohan Singh, TMC member Sudip Bandyopadhyay and other opposition leaders handing over memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee, December 16, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Led by the Congress, leaders of some opposition parties met President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday. Raising the issue of demonetisation with him, the Opposition contingent also lodged their apprehensions alleging the government of not “letting them speak” in the Parliament.

The meeting, incidentally, exposed cracks in the Opposition ranks with NCP, DMK, Left front, BSP and SP choosing to stay away. They were reportedly upset with the Congress party over its unilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi on farmer’ issues earlier in the day.

However, apart from Congress, leaders from Trinamool Congress, RJD, JD(U) and AIUDF and some other parties met the President.

The contingent, which included Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh, handed over a representation, which read, “We are extremely pained by this trampling of our democratic rights and the suppression of our right to present our views and make our voices heard in Parliament. We are deeply concerned that our parliamentary democratic system itself is under severe threat”.

“The demonetisation decision has brought about a disastrous situation in the nation. We beseech you, as the protector of the Constitution, to kindly intervene to save the people from economic disaster,” the memorandum read further.

People stand in a long queue to withdraw currency notes at ATM machine, Allahabad, Dec 16, 2016.

People stand in a long queue to withdraw currency notes at ATM machine, Allahabad, Dec 16, 2016.

The Opposition leaders also apprised President Pranab Mukherjee of the situation arising out of demonetisation and the problems being faced by them.

“We told President that we wanted a discussion on demonetisation in Parliament and on problems faced by farmers, small traders. We wanted debate in Parliament but the government flouted all democratic values and blocked it,” senior Congress leader Malliarjun Kharge said.

“The government completely failed in running the proceedings in Parliament. Ministers holding placards did not allow Parliament to function,” he added.

It was second time when the Opposition contingent knocked at the President’s door on the issue.

Trinamool Congress, led by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, along with AAP National Conference, and even the government ally Shiv Sena, had marched to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the first day of Winter session demanding roll-back of demonetisation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the government decision to demonetise the higher denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000, along with other measures, on November 8.

The Winter session was a washout with both the houses of Parliament seeing repeated adjournments over the issue of demonetisation.

Protesting against the implementation of the move dubbing it as anti-poor and anti-farmer, the Opposition, in particular the Congress party, is now alleging a “corruption” behind the decision. They are also demanding government’s explanation on more than 90 reported deaths post the note ban.

(With inputs from the PTI)