For the 8th straight day, Opposition stalled Parliament over demonetisation today, even as the government sought to break the logjam by promising that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak on the issue if a debate takes place.
In the Lok Sabha, a number of Opposition leaders, including Mallikarjun Kharge (Cong), Sudip Bandhopadhyay (TMC) and Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), pressed for acceptance of their demand for an Adjournment Motion and debate under a rule that entails voting. They also demanded presence of the Prime Minister during the debate.
In response, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Prime Minister will speak on demonetisation if the Opposition wanted but the debate should take place, for which the rule will be decided by the Speaker.
Singh said it was clear that nobody was questioning the government's intentions over demonetisation or imputing any malafide.
Even as he was speaking, opposition members trooped into the Well and shouted slogans.
Amid the din, Singh said the government is ready for a discussion and willing to listen to the complaints and suggestions different parties have over the execution of the demonetisation move.
"As far as the Prime Minister coming to the House is concerned, if the Opposition wants he will come and intervene," Singh said, assuring the Opposition.
The decision regarding the rule under which the debate should take place is for the Speaker to make, he said.
He termed demonetisation as a "historic, bold and pro- poor" decision taken to target black money and in national interest.
However, as the uproar continued, Speaker adjourned the House till 2 pm.
Earlier, Kharge said demonetisation had harmed the economic system, the farmers, youths, labourers and women among others who are in distress.
The Congress leader said over 70 people have died due to the faulty implementation of demonetisation decision.
He cited the incident of a Union Minister facing difficulty in paying hospital bills after his brother died and said it was an evidence of the extent of the crisis. He was referring to Sadanand Gowda who faced the problem.
"There is only one way to break this deadlock. The Prime Minister should come to the House and the opposition's adjournment motion should be accepted," he said.
Bandhopadhyay of Trinamool said the government must take
initiative to break the impasse as people will ask what does Parliament stand for, if it is adjourned everyday.
Supporting Kharge, Mulayam Singh said if Modi does not come to the House on such an important matter, then when he will come. Farmers are facing a lot of problems, he said.
Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav (RJD) called the decision impractical and anti-people.
An AIADMK member said the government should take initiative to ease people's sufferings, while B Mahtab (BJD) said the onus was on the Centre to take steps to break the impasse.
Anandrao Adsul of BJP ally Shiv Sena targeted opposition parties, saying neither 'Bharat Bandh' nor 'Aakrosh Diwas', which different parties had announced for today, was visible.
He, however, lamented that the recent announcement of the Centre that NABARD would disburse Rs 21,000 crore to cooperative banks has not been implemented. The announcement had come after an unhappy Sena delegation had met the PM.
"Situation remains bad in rural areas," he said.
When the Lok Sabha met again at 2 pm after adjournment, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rose to introduce a bill to amend the Income Tax Act allow authorities impose 75 per cent tax and 10 per cent penalty in case they detect undisclosed wealth deposited post demonetisation.
Members from the opposition parties, who were asking the Speaker to take up their adjournment motion on note ban, rushed to the Well raising slogans. Jaitley then introduced the bill amid din.
The din and slogan shouting against the government continued for another few minutes and the House was adjourned for the day, 10 minutes past 2 pm.
Earlier in the day, as soon after the House expressed its condolences over the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, Opposition members, including those from the Congress and Trinamool, wanted to speak on demonetisation issue.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan declined their request, saying the matter could be taken up after Question Hour.
Opposition members then trooped into the Well holding placards and shouting slogans against the Prime Minister as well as the government, while members of AIADMK were seen standing near their seats.
The Speaker asked them to desist from showing placards or papers in the House, reminding them that it was against the rules.
Amid the din, the Question Hour went on for around 20 minutes and saw four questions as well as supplementaries being taken up.
In the Rajya Sabha, soon after the House mourned the death of Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and the listed papers were laid, Naresh Agrawal (SP) said nationwide protest 'Aakrosh Divas' is being observed today against demonetisation that has caused hardships to common man.