PM Modi attends Upper house, but Oppn adamant on protest

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers look on as opposition members protest in the well of the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on December 1, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers look on as opposition members protest in the well of the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on December 1, 2016.
Photo – PTI

It was a day when the government acceded to the Opposition’s demand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence in the house, a pre-condition to hold debate on the issue of demonetisation. The Prime Minister sat through the Upper House but only to witness Opposition’s slogans and uproar in the Well of the house.

PM Modi attended the proceedings in Rajya Sabha from noon, till it was finally adjourned for the day after it met post-lunch at 2:00 PM.

“We want to speak on this issue but with whom? Our anguish is that the Prime Minister is holding weekly meetings with his MPs in Parliament House. He is also speaking outside. Our demand is that the Prime Minister should be here and listen to us,” leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said at noon.

Prime Minister Modi and host of other cabinet ministers were present in the house.

The Opposition MPs, especially the Congress, sought an apology referring to Prime Minister’s recent remarks defending the demonetisation. They alleged that Prime Minister has remarked that the Opposition parties support black money holders.

At this moment, several BJP members stood up and protested against the Opposition’s contention of apology from the Prime Minister.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rajya Sabha. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rajya Sabha.
Photo – PTI

Intervening in the din, Chairman Hamid Ansari urged the members that the debate has not been concluded and called the listed speaker AU Singh Deo (BJD) to start. Even Union Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu insisted that the House should continue with the debate on demonetisation.

However, the debate couldn’t resume due to the protest and sloganeering, one some occasions from both the sides.

Sharad Yadav (JDU) said he too agreed that the debate should continue, but it “cannot be one-way traffic” and demanded that the Prime Minister should remain seated in the House all through the discussion”. At this Hamid Ansari asked, “Why are you assuming that he (PM) will not participate”.

With uproar refusing to die down, the house was adjourned till 12:29 PM and then again up till 2:00 PM.

But as the opposition was unrelenting in their protest even after Prime Minister’s presence as the house reassembled at 2:00 PM, Deputy Chairman had to adjourn the house till Friday.

In between, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained seated in the Rajya Sabha even between the adjournments at noon. Members from various political parties, including some from the Opposition, were seen going to his seat to exchange pleasantries or for a chit-chat.

Samajwadi Party (SP) member Jaya Bacchan went to the Prime Minister and was seen exchanging pleasantries. She was followed by AIADMK members and a Left MP. Renowed boxer and member Mary Kom was also seen discussing certain things with Modi.

As members kept meeting him, there were some lighter moments too, as the Prime Minister was seen smiling at times, reported the news agency PTI.

(With inputs from the PTI)