Modi faces heat as opposition calls for currency ban rollback

Modi faces heat as opposition calls for currency ban rollback

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An Indian customer poses for a photograph with a new Rs2,000 banknote at a State Bank of India ATM in Siliguri on Monday. — AFP
An Indian customer poses for a photograph with a new Rs2,000 banknote at a State Bank of India ATM in Siliguri on Monday. — AFP

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with senior ministers on Monday to counter the opposition, which is up in arms against the demonetization move.

Meanwhile, a combined opposition on Monday disrupted the proceedings of the lower house of the Indian parliament (Lok Sabha) for the fourth consecutive day demanding discussion on demonetization under a rule that entails voting, leading to adjournment of the house twice as of noon.

As soon as the proceedings began and the Lok Sabha paid tributes to those killed in a train accident in Kanpur on Sunday, Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Left parties, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stormed the well of the house demanding admission of an adjournment motion to discuss the demonetization of Rs1,000 and Rs500 banknotes under Rule 56, which ensures voting.

However, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was ready for debate if the opposition allowed the discussion under Rule 193 that does not entail voting or passage of a resolution. The opposition, however, rejected the proposal.

As the joint opposition continued to shout slogans and raise banners saying that the common people have been suffering due to the demonetization announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov. 8, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan initially declared that she would not adjourn the house and continued the question hour in the backdrop of constant sloganeering.

When some TMC members tried to come near HRD minister Prakash Javadekar who was replying a question related to his Ministry with banners reading “Financial Emergency”, Mahajan told the opposition that she would tell the Lok Sabha TV authorities to show them on TV and then they wouldn’t need to disturb the minister. “If you want to come on TV, I will tell the Lok Sabha TV people to show you, but don’t disturb the minister,” she said.

At this, Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge told Speaker that they were protesting in the house not to come on TV but due to the “sufferings” of the common people.

“We are not here to be in the TV. We want to debate but the government is not listening to us,” Kharge said.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was present in the Lok Sabha. While NCP MPs were standing in the aisle supporting other opposition members over the demonetization issue, AIADMK members raised the issue of Tamil fishermen injured allegedly in firing by Sri Lankan Navy.

As the pandemonium continued, the speaker adjourned the house for ten minutes after carrying out 50 minutes of the proceedings in the din. — Agencies

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