With the beginning of new Parliament session, firece debate has kicked off between government and the Opposition. The latter on Thursday targeted Modi government on several issues including demonetisation and handling situation in Kashmir last year during protest post the encounter killing of militancy ‘poster boy’ Burhan Wani.
Speaking in the debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “2016 has been a year of depression, recession, regression and suppression”.
Criticising the government further, Azad charged it has been a “failure” on all fronts particularly in tackling black money, terrorism and fake currency. Though the ruling party BJP rejected the charged and said the “metamorphosis of India is happening now”.
“…We all talk about demonetisation or notebandi… The President has appreciated demonetisation… But the government has been a failure on all fronts — black money, terrorism and fake currency,” he said.
The Opposition has been criticising demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes ever since after it was announced on November 8 last year by PM Modi. The issue had led to a unceasing protest resulting into a near washout of the Parliament’s Winter session.
Flaying the move further, the senior Congress leader talked about the problems faced by the common public, alleging that the government does not even have “remorse” for coming out with such a policy which affected all.
“While a common man could hardly get Rs 2500 through the front door of a bank, crores of rupees were pilfered through the back doors of banks… The government must share some discredit for this,” he said, adding that over 120 people died because of the government policy and even labourers faced job loss.
Turning heat over the issue of farmer’s suicide, Azad claimed that demonetisation impacted farmers citing the National Crime Bureau Records. Claiming 42% increase in farmers’ suicides, he questioned “Is this welfare of farmers? Post-demonetisaton, the situation has worsened. Farmers did not have money to buy seeds, fertiliser and other inputs.”
However, defending demonetisation decision, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said during the previous Congress rule, the country had seen widespread corruption and the economy had been left in a dire condition.
Members of other opposition parties like Samajwadi Party and Trinamool Congress also attacked the government over demonetisation, state of the economy and other aspects of governance.
Charging that an “undeclared emergency” has been imposed, the leader of Opposition said that the government cannot take criticism.
“We support surgical strikes. If it goes for more surgical strikes, we will support. However, when we asked for the number of people killed, we became anti-national. …If we start raising voices, we become anti-national…” Azad told the Upper House.
On Kashmir affairs, he said the situation has worsened and the government has failed to curb infiltration. “Mere expressing concern is not the job of the government. It should come out with concrete solutions,” he said.
(With inputs from the PTI)