Deadlock continues in parliament, opposition demands Modi’s apology (Roundup)

New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) Parliament remained deadlocked for the 11th consecutive day on Thursday on the issue of demonetisation as the opposition persisted with its demand for a discussion in Lok Sabha under the rules entailing voting and seeking Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s apology in the Rajya Sabha.

Both the Houses were adjourned for the day after opposition led by Congress and Trinamool Congress kept up a din.

In the Rajya Sabha, the opposition created an uproar over its demand that Modi apologise for allegedly projecting outside Parliament that the entire opposition was supporting black money.

The Prime Minister was present in the Upper House in pre and post-lunch sessions.

In the morning, the house was adjourned for 15 minutes and then till 2 p.m. when the opposition continued to demand the apology.

When it met again at 2 p.m., Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien tried to persuade the protesting members to continue the discussion on demonetisation but opposition members, led by Congress, trooped near his podium to demand an apology from Modi, who was then present in the house.

Kurien said: “This is unfair. Your demand was that the Prime Minister should come to the house. Now he is here. You continue the discussion.”

But the Opposition didn’t relent and shouted slogans like “Pradhan Mantri maafi maango (Prime Minister, apologise)”.

Kurien then adjourned the house for the day.

Earlier, Modi entered the house at noon, when a heated exchange was on over the opposition’s charge that the government had bypassed the upper house by taking the “money bill route” while moving the Income Tax Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. Money bills do not need the upper house’s nod.

As soon as Modi entered, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad sought his apology for allegedly portraying the entire opposition as supporters of black money, but treasury benches protested noisily at this demand.

Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav reiterated their demand that Modi should sit through the entire debate.

In Lok Sabha, the opposition again disrupted the proceedings persistently demanding a discussion on demonetisation under a rule that entails voting, forcing Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to adjourn the house for the day shortly after noon.

Soon after the house met, Trinamool leader Sudip Bandopadhyay raised the issue of delay in landing permission to a plane carrying West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Kolkata airport on Wednesday evening even though the pilot pointed out that the plane was running out of fuel.

Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, said Banerjee’s life was in danger.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, however, denied the charge, saying the flight hovered for only 13 minutes before it landed, and the Director General of Civil Aviation had ordered an inquiry.

The issue also figured in Rajya Sabha.

Soon after, the opposition, led by the Congress and the Trinamool, trooped near the Speaker’s podium to demand a discussion on demonetisation as Mahajan tried to conduct the Question Hour.

Members of the Left parties, the Samajwadi Party, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal stood in the aisles in solidarity, while AIADMK members also stood near their seats.

Amid the din, Sports Minister Vijay Goel answered a few questions.

However, the opposition continued with its tirade forcing Mahajan to adjourn the house till noon.

When it reassembled, Mahajan disallowed all notices of adjournment motion on different issues.

As Biju Janata Dal leader Bhartruhari Mahtab urged the Speaker to find a way to start the discussion, Parliamentary Affairs Minister H.N. Ananth Kumar said the government was ready to discuss the matter. Mahajan also urged the members to begin the discussion, keeping aside the rules.

However, the opposition continued to demand voting, and amid the din, Mahajan adjourned the House for the day.

The Parliament has experienced a virtual washout since the winter session began on November 16 as the government and the opposition have locked horns over demonetisation and the consequent cash crunch.

–IANS

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