New Delhi, Nov 24: Following a prolonged demand by the Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally attended the proceedings in the current session of Parliament. With Modi seated in the Rajya Sabha, members of Opposition took turn one-by-one to articulate their stand against demonetisation policy of the central government. Modi was expected to intervene in the end and counter the arguments presented by the Opposition lawmakers. However, the Prime Minister chose not to attend the proceedings in the post-lunch session. This created disappointment among the Opposition MPs who forced Deputy Speaker P J Kurien to adjourn the proceedings for the day.
PM Modi remained ‘maun’ throughout the time he was present inside the Parliament. Sources close to India Today claim that Modi is likely not to intervene tomorrow as well. BJP has indicated that it is pointless for the Prime Minister to intervene at this point of time. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that Modi is prepared to participate in the discussion. “But the Opposition has no intention of indulging in a genuine debate,” he added.
Who said what in the Rajya Sabha proceedings today:
Ghulam Nabi Azad began the debate by taking a jibe against PM Modi, saying that he should had spoken within the Parliament on demonetisation after announcing it on November 8. “The Prime Minister is not the leader of only the BJP. He is everyone’s PM. He is speaking from Japan, Uttar Pradesh and Goa. But why was he shying away from the Parliament?”
Azad accused the Modi government of pushing through the demonetisation scheme without effective planning. “You did not had enough notes printed, you were not prepared for it. People are suffering unprecedented amount of hardships. In this House, we have the right to raise the plight of farmers, labours, daily-wage earners and the common man. I want to ask the Prime Minister whether he would indulge in the debate or stay only in the Question Hour. If he will leave after the Question Hour, then we would be forced to prevent the proceedings.
Leader of House Arun Jaitley indicated that Modi would stay throughout the proceedings, by saying, “We are ready to debate with no ifs and buts”.
While Modi remained ‘maun’, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, known for exercising maximum restraint and silence, lashed out at the Opposition over demonetisation. Manmohan raised concern over the rising number of deaths across the nation, and called demonetisation as ‘monumental mismanagement failure’.
Manmohan further pointed out the GDP would decline by nearly 2 per cent due to the demonetisation move by the present government. He urged the Prime Minister to take immediate steps to bring relief to the people. “Even 50 days of torture can bring about disastrous effect for the poor,” Manmohan Singh said.
Manmohan’s intervention was followed by Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agrawal, who urged Prime Minister to roll-back the decision of demonetisation. “It is causing unprecedented amount of hardship for the common man. “Was this decision taken in view of upcoming Uttar Pradesh elections? For making a poll pitch, you have driven crores of people on the road. You should know what kind hardships they are suffering,” Agrawal said.
“I appeal to the Prime Minister to bring relief to the common man, the labourer, the farmer, the daily wage earner by rolling back this tughlaqi decision,” Agrawal added.
Derek O’Brien of TMC launched another round of scathing attack against the Prime Minister. Quoting Mamata Banerjee, Derek O’Brien reiterated the stand taken by his party on the issue of demonetisation. He pointed that people are dying due this decision and it is time for the government to immediately roll-back the decision. Derek O’Brien challenged Modi government to put Mamata Banerjee behind the bars if they cannot tolerate her to raise the voice of labourers, commoners, farmers, tea-garden workers, etc.
Derek O’Brien further claimed that the GDP is suffering a total loss of Rs 15,000 crores due to the demonetisation step of Modi government. “The GDP per day is Rs 45,000 crores. Of this, 59 per cent is private consumption of Rs 27,000 crores . 87 per cent of this in cash, which roughly translates to Rs 24,000 crores. Therefore, in 15 days, we have lost Rs 15,000 crores of GDP in last 15 days,” he pointed out.
Mayawati also briefly intervened in the debate, before the House was adjourned for the lunch break. Mayawati condemned Modi government for carrying out a survey on demonetisation over his own app. She challenged the Prime Minister to call mid-term polls, if 93 per cent people are supporting him over demonetisation.
Outside the Parliament:
Arun Jaitley lashed out at Manmohan Singh for terming demonetisation as ‘blunder’. “Were 2G, Coalgate and Commonwealth not blunders? The person who presided over a government which indulged in lakhs of crores of scandals is condemning this step to curb black money.”
Support to Manmohan Singh drew from unexpected quarters. BJP ally Shiv Sena advised Modi government to respect view of Manmohan Singh. “He was the former Prime Minister of India and a renowned economist. If he has expressed his opinion, the government should take it seriously,” Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray said. He also suggested the Modi government to hold a Brexit-style referendum on the issue of demonetisation.