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Parliament LIVE: Rajya Sabha adjourned as benches remain empty, Congress calls govt non-functioning

With demonetisation, the Opposition has found another reason to attack the government and turn the Winter Session of the Parliament into a stormy battle.

FP Politics November 29, 2016 12:51:34 IST
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Parliament LIVE: Rajya Sabha adjourned as benches remain empty, Congress calls govt non-functioning

Highlights

09:51 (ist)

PM Modi likely to attend remaining three sittings of Parliament

According to an NDTV report Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that Prime Minister Modi will be present in Parliament for the three remaining days of the Session and can participate in proceedings for either of the House depending on the need.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with key ministers before Parliament convenes on Wednesday morning to decide their strategy," the report said.

11:36 (ist)

Opposition doesn't bother to bring up terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba and Nagrota sectors

Demonetisation has been the reason for Parliament washouts over ten days now since Winter Session began on 16 November. Interestingly, Parliament has not discussed anything else except note ban imposed by the Narendra Modi government since the Winter Session began.

Even as terrorists infiltrated the International Border and attacked two - Nagrota and Samba - districts of Jammu and Kashmir, there was no talk of that in Parliament. The attack in Nagrota reportedly started around 5.30 am with militants firing at a field regiment camp located in the garrison town of Nagrota near the headquarter's of army's 16 corps in the state.

In Samba, security forces killed two militants early on Tuesday when a group of militants tried to sneak in from Pakistan through the International Border near a border outpost in this Jammu district. According to reports, the two militants were killed following a "heavy firing exchange" with the BSF.

12:16 (ist)

Enter Manmohan Singh

"I do not disagree with the objectives of taking steps against terroism and black money," said former prime minister Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the House.

"In the process of demonetisation, monumental mismanagement has taken place," he said.

"Today, there are no two opinions in the country. It is important to take note of the grievances of the common people who have suffered," said Manmohan Singh.

"I say so with all responsibility that we do not know what will be the full outcome," he said. "50 days is a short period but for those who are poor, even 50 days can bring about disastrous effects. About 60-65 people have lost their lives," he said.

"What has been done can weaken and erode our people's confidence in the currency and banking system," said Manmohan Singh in the Rajya Sabha.

"I want to know from the prime minister the names of countries where people have deposited their money in banks but are not allowed to withdraw it," he said.

"In my opinion, the way demonetisation has been implemented will hurt agriculture, small industries and the people in the informal sector," he said.

"The national income can decline by about 2 percentage points...I feel that the prime minister must come up with some constructive proposal," said the former prime minister.

"It is not good that every day, the banking system comes up with some modifications. That reflects very poorly on the prime minister's office," he said.

"I am very sorry that the RBI has been exposed to this kind of criticism which is fully justified," he added.

13:03 (ist)

A harrowed Kurien begged members to calm down, then adjourned the Rajya Sabha for the 4th time

No sooner were the listed papers laid on the table in Rajya Sabha, Sharad Yadav  of JD(U) said the government should pay a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to kin of the 70 persons who lost their lives due to hardships caused by withdrawal of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes. Naresh Agarwal (SP) and Mayawati (BSP) said Modi should be called before starting discussion on the demonetisation.


"He should come and listen to the pain people have faced because of his decision," Mayawati said. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the opposition is ready for discussion on the issue but Prime Minister should come to the Rajya Sabha first. As he spoke, members of the BJP moved into the aisles raising slogans.


At this point, TMC members carrying placards of "Financial Emergency" trooped into the Well, with Congress members following suit.


As they shouted slogans from the Well, Kurien said, "You cannot speak in the Well. Shouting in the Well is of no use. If you go back to your seats, I will give you time (to speak)."

He told Azad that he was ready to accept his notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of business. "Mr Azad, I am ready to admit your notice under 267 if only there is order in the House."

As BJP members also created a ruckus, an angry Kurien snapped at them. "Why should treasury benches do this? Mr Minister, why should treasury benches to this," he asked Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

12:55 (ist)

How Opposition made sure Lok Sabha didn't function for fourth consecutive day

Opposition disrupted the proceedings of the Lok Sabha for the fourth consecutive day demanding discussion on demonetisation on a rule which entails voting forcing Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to adjourn the House for about 50 minutes soon after it assembled. As soon as the House met, members of Congress, TMC, Left parties and AAP rushed to the Well of the House demanding discussions on the demonetisation of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 under Rule 56, that entails.

Samjawadi Party, NCP and RJD stood in the aisles in solidarity with the other opposition members. While AIADMK members were also on the aisles raising the issue of Tamil fishermen injured allegedly in firing by Sri Lankan Navy, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was seen busy in his seat in an intimate discussion with AAP MP from Punjab Harinder Singh Khalsa.


Ignoring the slogan shouting opposition members, Speaker allowed the Question Hour to continue amidst noise. When some opposition members tried to bring a placard, denouncing the demonetisation move, infront of Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who was replying a question related to his Ministry, the Speaker tried to intervene and asked the MPs not to disturb the Minister. "This is not good. Everyone will be shown on TV, but don't disturb the Minister. If you want to discuss something, raise it before the government. People are in pain, tell the government. But this is not the way to highlight people's grievances," Mahajan said asking them to return to their seats.

However, an unrelenting opposition continued to raise slogans. The Speaker again appealed to the opposition to participate in the debate saying that the disruption of proceedings would not resolve the problem. "I am really pained. If you are people's representatives, you should stand by them," she said. As pandemonium continued, the Speaker adjourned the House till noon after 20 minutes of proceedings. 

With inputs from PTI

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Jan 04, 2018 - 18:04 (IST)

Rajya Sabha amid pandemonium as govt refuses to discuss on motion to send triple talaq 

Jan 04, 2018 - 18:00 (IST)

Rajya Sabha adjourned till Friday without any discussion on triple talaq bill

Jan 04, 2018 - 17:59 (IST)

Govt requests to take up GST bill first as Dy Chairman ruled Triple Talaq bill can't be taken for passage without first building consensus in House

Jan 04, 2018 - 17:57 (IST)

Sukhendu Shekhar Roy of TMC rejects govt allegation that suggested composition of Standing Committee was not inclusive

Roy, responding to Jaitley's objection that the Select Committee suggested by him did not reflect the nature of the House, Roy said that he had included members from all parties who were willing to send the bill to the Standing Committee. However, BJP members were not included because the government was not willing to send the bill to the committee. Roy added that if the BJP is interested in sending the Bill for further scrutiny, he has no objection to ammend the list to include its members too.  

Jan 04, 2018 - 17:48 (IST)

PJ Kurien says resolution was admitted because Chairman himself allowed it

Kurien said that the Leader of the House is a very learned advocate himself and all points raised by him are of relevance. The rule he quotes that a prior notice should be given is also correct, he said. "However, the same rule adds that the Chairman has the power to admit such a motion and which is why I cannot overrule it. It is now admitted and hence is the property of the House, only members can amend it," Kurien said on Jaitley's objection over the Opposition motion seeking triple talaq bill be sent to Standing Committee. 

Jan 04, 2018 - 17:41 (IST)

Jan 04, 2018 - 17:40 (IST)

Arun Jaitley raises objection on point of order requesting bill be sent to Standing Committee

Jaitley said that the previous precedents show that any amendments or motions should be introduced with prior notice. He said that the Opposition's demand to send the bill to Select Committee was invalid. He also raised objection on the suggestion on members of Select Committee made by Anand Sharma. 

He said that a committee should reflect the nature of the House, which the list of suggestions given by Sharma does not. Sharma's suggestion did not include names from the BJP.   

Jan 04, 2018 - 17:34 (IST)

Govt bill is incomplete, will finish Muslim women, says LoP Ghulam nabi Azad in RS

Ghulam Nabi Azad stood up as the bill was taken up for discussion and said that none of the parties are in opposition of the bill in essence. However, he said that the government's bill will "finish Muslim women" instead of saving them. 

"If you will put their husbands in jail, who will provide for them, who will pay for their children," Azad asked as he reiterated that Congress leader Anad Sharma's suggestion to send it to Standing Committee should be taken into consideration. 

Jan 04, 2018 - 17:30 (IST)

Rajya Sabha begins debate on the triple talaq Bill

Dec 15, 2017 - 10:45 (IST)

BJP president Amit Shah reaches Parliament 

BJP president Amit Shah reached Parliament, to make his Parliamentary debut in Rajya Sabha today 
 

The Winter Session of Parliament opened on Wednesday with a united Opposition mounting an assault on the government over demonetisation, saying it had led to "economic anarchy" in the country. The opposition parties also demanded a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the alleged selective leak of information before the official announcement.

While Lok Sabha was adjourned for the day after paying tributes to nine leaders, including sitting TMC MP Renuka Sinha, the seven-hour-long debate in Rajya Sabha, however, remained inconclusive. The debate in Rajya Sabha continued till 6 pm on Wednesday before Deputy Chairman of the House PJ Kurien adjourned it till 11 am tomorrow. Kurien said that the discussion on demonetisation will be resumed on Thursday at 2 pm. "From 11am to 12 pm will be the Zero Hour and Question Hour will be from 12-1 pm," said Kurien. There were repeated demands by the opposition members that the Prime Minister should be present in the House to listen to the members.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said Modi, who did not come to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, should at least be present tomorrow and possibly intervene. The government rejected as baseless the opposition charge that there was "leakage" of the 8 November decision and said everyone was taken by surprise which is why there are "initial" problems.

Parliament LIVE Rajya Sabha adjourned as benches remain empty Congress calls govt nonfunctioning

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

Joining ranks over the raging issue, parties like Congress, JD(U), RJD, SP, BSP, Trinamool Congress, Left and AIADMK slammed the government, particularly targeting PM Modi, for making Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes invalid and said the "ill-timed" and "ill-conceived" step had severely hit the common people, the farmers and the poor.

During a discussion on demonetisation, which was taken up after suspension of all business in response to notices given by a host of opposition members, a scathing attack was made on the government which strongly defended the step as one taken in national interest and to end corruption and black money, which it linked to terror activities in the country.

Here's a quick recap of what happened today

Anand Sharma uses wit and humour to attack Modi

Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma on Wednesday demanded a probe into "selective leakage" of the demonetisation move, which he termed a "Nadirshahi farman" (autocratic order). Initiating a debate after listed business was suspended to take up a discussion on the 8 November decision to withdraw old higher denomination currency, Sharma used wit and humour to attack Modi for being insensitive to problems caused to the common man.

He asked Modi to state where he got Rs 23,000-24,000 crore, estimated by the International Money Watch Group, for his Lok Sabha elections. He also asked if cheque or credit card payments were made to organise his rally at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh a few days ago. Alleging that the information on demonetisation was selectively leaked, he said, "Your BJP units have deposited crores (just before the 8 November decision)."

Sharma also sought to know from the Prime Minister as to "who wants to kill him", referring to the Prime Minister's speech in Goa where he had said that with demonetisation resulting in "Looting of their 70 year corrupt earnings, they will destroy me, they can kill me". "There should have been an ordinance for demonetization. But no ordinance was brought. This is a Nadirshahi farman (autocratic order)," Sharma said.

"The decision to demonetise high currency notes was leaked to a select few. Secrecy was not maintained on this issue. It was published in a Gujarati newspaper long back and even other newspapers wrote about it," said Sharma. "There should be a probe into the selective leakage of information," he said, asking: "What did the government do to prepare for effective implementation of the policy."

He also sought to know from the government which law gave it the right to impose limits on withdrawing money from peoples' own accounts. "I condemn Prime Minister's statement in Goa for mocking the people who are standing in queues. He must apologise. Please explain who wants to kill you," said Sharma posing a question to Modi. Congress will not tolerate anyone planning to harm the Prime Minister of the country, he said. "An atmosphere has been created by the government where questioning them has become a parameter to decide one's nationalism," said Sharma.

He sought to know from the Prime Minister as to from where the "15 thousand crore rupees spent on your mega election campaign come from". "Did you pay for your recent Ghazipur rally through credit card," Sharma said mocking the government for asking people to use plastic money for day-to-day expenses.

Sharma also demanded that Modi must disclose the list of those names, who are holding black money in Swiss banks. "Government has a list of those holding black money in Swiss banks. We demand that the Prime Minister must tell who all are there in the list," said Sharma. He said the government should disclose how much money left India between March and September this year and how many people invested in bullion, bought gold or forex during this period.

Parliament LIVE Rajya Sabha adjourned as benches remain empty Congress calls govt nonfunctioning

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

Sharma took a dig at the government for using the term "surgical strike" in the context of demonetization and the unplanned consequences of the move, saying, "Bina doctori padhe sab surgeon ban gaye (You became a surgeon without training or education)."

Quoting media reports, Sharma said State Bank of India — the country's largest lender — knew of the decision way back in March and a Gujarati newspaper had in April published a report of the move to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. He demanded a probe into "how many people bought more than Rs 1 crore of foreign currency and bullion" since April. "This is a serious issue... you never kept secrecy (about the decision)," Sharma said. The "ill-timed" and "ill-conceived" move had unleashed "economic anarchy" in the country and benefited a few, he said, adding that to fight black money created by higher denomination currency, a bigger Rs 2,000 note has been brought which is similar to the paper on which 'churan' is sold and "shed colour" was brought.

"Your government is insensitive," he said adding Modi was riding a bullet train in Japan when old, women and common man were queueing up at banks at 3 am in the morning to get currency to buy their daily needs. Sharma said Modi had in his Goa speech had stated that those standing in line at banks were those involved in 2G spectrum and coal scam as well as holding black money. "I condemn the Prime Minister for calling the poor standing in the queue for his Rs 4,000-4,500, black money holders and scamster," he said.

Taking a dig at the Modi, he said someone who "changes clothes five times a day", has become Prime Minister and travels around the globe was "calling himself a sanyasi and tapasvi".

Sharma demanded that the names of persons holding accounts in Swiss bank and those revealed in the Leichtenstein and HSBC lists should be made public. The names of bank loan defaulters above Rs 5,000 crore should also be made public. While the decision had put the common man to immense hardship by way of having to stand in long queues to lay hands on valid currency to meet daily needs, the information about demonetisation was selectively leaked to the "friends of BJP," Sharma alleged. The move had branded 86 percent of the currency in circulation black money and "everyone a criminal," he said adding when Modi announced the plan it was expected that adequate arrangements would be made for dispensing new notes.

"The magnanimous prime minister allowed Rs 4,000 of old currency to be changed... what right does the Constitution give the government to place restrictions on withdrawal of ones hard-earned money," he asked, adding one has to "beg to be allowed to withdraw his own money." He said former RBI Governor IG Patel had written about the government's decision to demonetise currency in 1978 and it would be absurd to think that all ill-gotten money is kept in cash and not invested in real estate, billion, equities or foreign exchange.

Moving towards cashless economy was fine but even the most developed economies of US or Europe have not achieved that objective yet. If they had, the US central bank would have stopped printing dollars, European Central Bank won't be printing Euros and UK central banks would have stopped printing pound sterling, he said.

Stating that the government had in one stroke declared everyone a criminal, he said the government and the finance minister have stated that terrorists would have benefited if advance information on the decision was given. "Which terrorist goes to RBI with sack full of counterfeit currency to change."

After withdrawing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, restrictions were placed even on foreign tourists who could not get their currency changed.

The Congress leader said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had informed Parliament in August that fake currency was 0.02 percent of the total currency in circulation. "If 0.02 percent by government admission is counterfeit currency, how can that be made the base to remove 86 percent of currency in circulation," he said.

An undeclared emergency has put common people in grave inconvenience, he said while crime money, ill-gotten wealth and that accrued through corruption or tax evasion is blackmoney, Prime Minister should answer if he considered money in the market, or in households, or with farmers, workers and employees was also blackmoney.

"This question arises because a message has gone that Indian economy was run on blackmoney... you decide but don't brand the whole country," he said, adding whether the cash the farmers gets for his crop or the one he uses to buy seeds or fertilizer was blackmoney. He said the move had rendered millions of agriculture workers and labourers unemployed.

Mayawati calls demonetisation ill-timed

As the debate was in progress, BSP chief Mayawati demanded the presence of the Prime Minister in the House to hear out the Opposition parties and address their concerns.

Parliament LIVE Rajya Sabha adjourned as benches remain empty Congress calls govt nonfunctioning

BSP chief and former UP Chief Minister Mayawati in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

Mayawati questioned the government's preparedness for the demonetisation of high-value bank notes, accusing it of spending the last ten months on settling the black money of its people. Participating in a debate in Rajya Sabha on the demonetisation of high-denomination currency notes, she said: "The government has said that they spent ten months preparing for this decision. Ten months was a long time to prepare. If they were serious about it, they would have prepared well for all the problems that people are facing today."

"What we are witnessing in India today would not have happened had they prepared," she added. Accusing the government of supporting those close to it in settling their ill-gotten wealth, Mayawati said: "In the last ten months, the BJP government has worked to help the party supporters and big businessmen to settle their black money.

"If the government had spent ten months preparing for it, then why do they need another 50 days? There is something fishy."

"Masses are in pain. The Prime Minister must be sleeping after taking pills. The move is without preparedness and people will punish BJP in 2019 during general elections. People of five states going for elections including Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will punish BJP," she said, adding that the poor and the middle classes were the worst sufferers. "It is an immature decision taken in haste and the whole country feels that is an 'economic emergency'," she said adding that it was like a "Bharatbandi situation."

Opposition demands Modi's presence in Rajya Sabha

Mayawati said the House should request the Prime Minister to be present and answer the members' concerns. It is "a very serious issue", she said, adding she has been observing Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, appears "sad".

Her demand was supported by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, who said the PM must be present in the House to hear out the concerns of various parties.

Earlier, Kurien said he had received as many as 13 notices under rule 267 for suspension of business to take up discussion on inconvience and hardships caused by demonetisation of currency. He said there was a general consensus for discussion and the government too was agreeable, so the list of business as notified stands completely suspended.

Azad demanded that the prime minister should at least "hear out the feelings of six-seven main parties, otherwise there is a mismatch. The feelings of opposition members should be heard by PM. I demand that at least he hears them out and sit in the House at least today. We can wait for him to come."

Parliament LIVE Rajya Sabha adjourned as benches remain empty Congress calls govt nonfunctioning

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday. PTI

This was objected to by DP Tripathi (NCP), who said that as Leader of the Opposition he should not distinguish between the big and small parties. Ram Gopal Yadav (who was expelled from Samajwadi Party) joined Anand Sharma to allege that information on demonetisation was "leaked" and termed it as a scam while demanding a thorough probe into it.

"A BJP leader in Punjab had tweeted on 5 November about the new Rs 2,000 note. How did this happen? This is an issue of concern. There is a scam in this. This should definitely be probed," he said, alleging further that 10 percent of the people have 90 per cent of wealth of the country and the remaining 90 per cent do not have anything.

The common people, especially the poor and the housewives were put to great hardship through this move and if elections are held today they will teach this government a lesson, he said, adding that majority of women who saved money through household savings were upset with the move.

"Elections are not fought with money power. You cannot win elections through money power. No one can win elections like that. Elections are won only by winning the hearts of people," he said.

Demonetisation of high denomination currency has created big problems to common people and and law and order situation is being created with police being deployed outside banks to control the queue.

"Do not hold elections now. If you meet and ask for votes from housewives in villages, they will beat you up with 'belan' and you will have to embalm your back with turmeric," he said, adding that you might lose elections if you hold early polls. Yadav said the entire House was against corrupt and drug money, but lamented that an impression is being created that those opposing this are against curbing black money which is erroneous.

JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who also sought a JPC probe into the suspected leak, said the sudden move was akin to "jumping out of a moving train". He said unlike the rich, who the PM said were standing in queue, it was the poor, handicapped and old people who were doing so to get their hands on their hard earned money. He alleged that while loans worth Rs 7,000 crore was written off today by banks including Rs 1,200 crore of Vijay Mallya and said that the prime minister has made the honesty of the country to stand in queues.

Yadav also took a dig at Jaitley saying he was sure that the Finance Minister was not part of the decision making on demonetisation, because had he been, Jaitley would have tipped him off. This remark left most members including Jaitley laughing.

Parliament LIVE Rajya Sabha adjourned as benches remain empty Congress calls govt nonfunctioning

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. PTI

Yechury renames PM as "Modi Antoinette"

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said that of the 130 crore population in the country, only 2.6 crore have credit cards.

He took a dig at Modi and narrated the infamous quote of Queen Marie Antoinette during the French revolution who had said that people can eat cakes when they don't have bread. "We have Modi Antoinette who says 'If you don't have paper, use plastic'".

Yechury compared the Prime Minister with a Roman ruler. He said a Senator had remarked about this ruler that: "I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they'll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they'll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it's the sand of the Coliseum. He'll bring them death - and they will love him for it."

Alleging that a BJP unit in Kolkata deposited Rs 1 crore in Indian's Bank Account on 8 November, he said "prove me if I am wrong." He added that Prime Minister was advertising for Paytm while talking about cashless economy.

The CPM leader said 1/5th of the economy is black economy and people who kept black money invested it in real estate, gold etc. That is why the imports surged and stated that it was this PM only who had stated that 95 percent of the black money is stashed offshore and is in safe havens.

"PM is cleaning a pond to kill crocodiles but big crocodiles have survived and only small fishes are dying."

He also demanded that corporate funding of all political parties should stop and there should be a stystem of state funding for elections to which Kurien said "why don't you move a private members bill in this regard."

Terming the demonetisation move as "Tughlaq shahi", he said the length of queues before banks and ATMs was ever increasing and asked why the government was agonising the people. He sought an investigation into the move, saying "let there be a joint parliamentary committee" for a proper probe. "We need to know the motive behind the move" as before every parliamentary session there is some gimmick which diverts attention from other major issues.

With inputs from agencies

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