A united Opposition today continued to disrupt proceedings in Rajya Sabha over hardships caused to the people due to demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes, forcing two adjournments in the pre-noon session.
Congress, TMC and BSP members trooped into the Well shouting slogans against the government, forcing proceedings to be adjourned first for 30 minutes and then till noon.
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 is being observed today against demonetisation that has caused hardships to common man.
'All India Protest', called Aakrosh Diwas, has been called to highlight the hardships, he said as other opposition leaders including Mayawati (BSP), Derek O'Brien (TMC), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), Anand Sharma (Cong) joined in.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said the nation was seething in anger over the hardship and harrassment caused because of the announcement made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8.
Soon Congress and TMC members trooped into the well of the House shouting slogans against the Prime Minister. Ruling benches also joined him by shouting slogans favouring start of a discussion on the issue.
I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rose to state that the discussion which had started on the opening day of the Winter Session of Parliament on November 16 and has not yet concluded, should be resumed, instead of such disruption of proceedings.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien agreed with the suggestion of Naidu but the din continued, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings for half an hour.
When the House met after adjournment, the Opposition was again on their feet shouting slogans like 'Janta Ka Paisa Janta Ko Do' (Give money to the people, it is their's). Deputy Chairman Kurien insisted that the discussion on the demonetisation be resumed, when Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M)asked "Why is the Prime Minister not coming (to the House)?" "You start. The Prime Minister will come. How do you know that the Prime Minister will not come," Kurien said, adding that it is already on the record that the Prime Minister will speak on the issue. As the Opposition members kept shouting slogans in the Well, the Chair adjourned the House till noon. When the House reassembled at noon for Question Hour, Leader of Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he wanted to "make it clear" that 18 Opposition parties have decided to observe 'Jan Akrosh Divas' today. "We did not discuss anything on Bharat Bandh. If anyone has raised the issue of Bharat Bandh, it is the Prime Minister. He is responsible for Bharat Bandh. "We are observing this day as 'Jan Aakrosh Divas' to raise the 'aakrosh' (anguish) across the country.
There is 'aakrosh' (anger) among the youth, the women and the old against this new policy of demonetisation," Azad said, adding that so far 75 people have lost their lives due to the government's decision to go for demonetisation.
The senior Congress leader also said a 96-year old man had died while standing in a queue outside a bank in Chennai and also the death of a young girl who did not have money for her wedding.
Earlier, when Ansari allowed Azad to speak, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rose to take up an issue saying "we need to raise a point".
Ansari, however, said the floor has already been given to Azad and if the government has a point it would be allowed later.
Amid the din raised by treasury benches, Chairman Hamid Ansari adjourned the proceedings till 1400 hours "because the House is not being allowed to run".
(Reopen PAR11) When the House met again at 2 PM, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sithraman placed a notification on behalf of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley providing for exemption of central excise duty for the manufacture of POS devices (Point of Sale). Soon after this, SP leader Naresh Aggarwal raised a Point of Order. As he started, he made certain comments about the Treasury Benches which was objected to. Deputy Chairman P J Kurien eventually expunged the remark after listening to both the sides. Later, Congress leader Anand Sharma raised a Point of Order, saying the Constitution specifically says that a person cannot be deprived of his property by the government. He questioned how then the government is depriving the country and the common man of their own money in the bank accounts by limiting withdrawals. He said nearly 80 people have died due to demonitisation move while standing in queues. "It is illegal and there is no law under which this has been done," Sharma said. "Even the Constitution does not allow the Prime Minister or the government to deprive the citizens of their money and property, especially bank accounts. Not one Bill was tabled in the House. The Prime Minister and the government must answer," he said. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said such an important decision was announced after the Session was called for and before it actually began. This is the first time when such an announcement has been made and the Prime Minister has not given a statement in the Parliament, Azad said. He said the opposition has demanded discussion over the move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in both the Houses, but in the presence of the Prime Minister since he has announced the move. He said some are saying that the Cabinet was not informed and even the Finance Minister did not know. "Then how can he (Finance Minister) reply to the points raised by us. Prime Minister should be here," Azad said. Taking a dig at Modi, he said he can even come to the Parliament Library for events and address every rally in Uttar Pradesh but can't come to the House. As Congress' sloganeering followed, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government is ready for discussion like always. "You failed with your 'Aakrosh Diwas' on the streets, so now you are disrupting the House proceedings," he said. Following the ruckus, Kurien adjourned the House till tomorrow morning.
Sharad Yadav, who sought to raise the issue of vacancies in teaching for reserved classes, said, "It is a very serious issue. In 70 years, I want to tell you what is the state of affairs in the country." He said the posts for reserved classes in various educational institutions were far less than the quota. He raised the issues of Delhi University, JNU and other institutions where the teachers were far less than required. While Yadav was citing figures to buttress his point, Congress members trooped into the Well raising slogans. Chairman Hamid Ansari's pleas for allowing the Question Hour to function fell on deaf ears. Congress members raised slogans like "jumlebaazi nahin chalegi", while the treasury benches also raised slogans to counter the opposition uproar.