Unrelenting Opposition wants JPC probe

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 23, 2016

The Opposition protesting against demonetisation outside Parliament on Wednesday morning. -- Kamal Narang

Over 200 MPs hold dharna in Parliament complex; Rahul calls demonetisation a ‘scam’

The Centre’s decision to demonetise high-value currency seems to have united the Opposition in Parliament.

On Wednesday, the parties held a joint protest in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue at the Parliament complex.

Over 200 MPs of the Congress, Left parties, Trinamool Congress, JD(U), RJD, SP, BSP, DMK and JMM participated in the process. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi demanded a Joint Parliamentary Commission (JPC) probe into the decision to demonetise notes of denomination ₹500 and ₹1,000 and termed the move a scam.

‘Why is the PM anxious?’

Talking to reporters after the protest, the Amethi MP said what Modi had done was the biggest “impromptu” financial experiment in the world. “He did not ask anyone. [Even the] Finance Minister did not know. The Chief Economic Adviser did not know. This decision is not that of Finance Minister. This is the Prime Minister’s decision,” he said.

Rahul repeated his charge that the “Prime Minister can give lectures to pop concert, but is hesitant to address Parliament”. “Two hundred MPs are saying they want him to tell the nation why he took this decision. PM does not want to come to Parliament. Why is the PM afraid of going inside? He is obviously anxious about something,” he added.

He said the Opposition MPs are united in demanding that the Prime Minister should come to Parliament and sit through the entire debate and “hear us out”. “We feel there is a scam behind this decision. We feel he informed his own people before and the opposition is firm that it wants a JPC,” he said.

Kurien chides Naqvi

Soon after the protests, the Opposition said in the Rajya Sabha that the discussions could continue only if the Prime Minister comes to Parliament. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien, who had told the Opposition on Tuesday that they cannot assume that the Prime Minister will be absent during the discussions, urged the members to resume the debate.

But he pulled up the Treasury Benches for raising slogans when he was disposing off the ‘Points of Order’ from Opposition members on the PM’s absence. He warned Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi that the Chair could take action against him for disrupting proceedings. “For the first time, I am seeing this kind of a disturbance with Treasury Benches themselves coming and creating a problem, and to the Chair. I am very sorry,” a visibly agitated Kurien said.

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Published on November 23, 2016
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