“ATMs not working in Parl, how can poor draw money in villages” questions Oppn

Rajat Kain

Members of Opposition parties protesting in Rajya Sabha. Photo - PTI

Members of Opposition parties protesting in Rajya Sabha.
Photo – PTI

Criticising the government sharply over the issue of demonetisation, the Opposition once again stalled the proceedings in both the house of Parliament. Uproar by Opposition MPs and lack of agreement on the terms to hold discussion led to both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha being adjourned twice already on Monday.

In Rajya Sabha, the Opposition claimed that several workers and employees in government, as well as in other sectors have been unable to draw their salaries.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad even went to the extent of questioning if there is “financial emergency” in the country.

“Government employees are not getting their pay and pensions, the domestic helps and other workers are not getting paid. I want to ask is there a financial emergency?” he asked, adding, “the ATMs are not working even in Parliament house. So how can we expect that people are getting money in far flung areas across the country?”

Responding to the Opposition charges, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu asked them to resume the discussion on the matter. The discussion on the issue of demonetisation, which began on the first day of Winter session in Rajya Sabha, has been in limbo due to repeated protest.

“Please let’s start discussion… This is not the way, this is an important issue. I urge we start discussion,” Naidu said.

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With the house once again witnessing din, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson PJ Kurien too urged the Opposition members to start discussion on the issue.

“I am agreeing that you are raising an important questions and it is for the government to reply. But you should start the discussion, only remedy is the discussion,” Kurien said as he stressed that “shouting is not the remedy… This is no remedy, this is not a solution”

Other opposition members – CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury and Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agrawal too criticised the government on not ban even as Congress MPs took to the Well of the House resorting to slogans.

“Small industries are suffering… workers are not getting their salaries. Several people have lost their jobs,” Yechury said.

As Opposition continued with the protest even after the government and the Deputy Chairperson urging for debate, the house was adjourned twice.

Opposition MPs protesting in Lok Sabha Photo - PTI

Opposition MPs protesting in Lok Sabha
Photo – PTI

In Lok Sabha, the lack of consensus between the government and the Opposition on the Rules to hold the debate led to another stand-off.

While the 17-party Opposition bloc is seeking discussion under the Rule 184, which entails voting, government is of opinion that discussion should start irrespective of any particular rule. The Opposition was initially seeking discussion under Rule 56, which too entailed voting but on Monday they sought discussion under Rule 184.

Meanwhile, the government once again assured the house of addressing all the issues arising out of the implementation of move to ban higher denomination currency notes, with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh intervening and responding to contention raised by Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge and TMC’s Sudip Bandhopadhyay.

However, due to repeated uproar, the lower house too has been adjourned twice so far today.