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Opposition protests over demonetisation disrupts Lok Sabha proceedings

Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016,15:42 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | Opposition today said it is ready for a debate on demonetisation in the Lok Sabha under any rule that entailed voting but the government refused to budge from its stand against division of votes as the impasse in the House continued, causing frequent adjournments.

The House saw two adjournments due to the noisy protests before Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called it a day.

When the House assembled in the morning, Opposition members raised slogans and rushed into the Well demanding a debate on demonetisation under rules which entail voting, forcing an adjournment till noon.

After the House reassembled, leaders of several Opposition parties, including Mallikarjun Kharge (Cong) and Sudip Bandhopadhyay (TMC), said they were willing to withdraw their demand that the debate be held under Rule 56, which deals with an adjournment motion, and said the government should also not insist on Rule 193 which does not involve voting at the end of the debate.

BJD also sided with the Opposition and rejected the government’s contention with its leader Bhartruhari Mahtab saying the division of votes was not on black money but the hardships facing people and states following the decision.

Kharge told the Speaker “you decide on any rule that involves discussion and voting. We are ready. We are not running away from debate.” He drew support from Bandopadhyay.

Expressing the government’s view, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the people stood with the Narendra Modi government on its action against black money and a divided message should not go out of Parliament on the issue.

“It should not appear that Parliament is against the measures being taken against black money,” he said.

Taking a dig at the government, Mahtab wondered who is dividing Parliament.

“It is neither the Leader of Opposition, nor the TMC leader… We are demanding a discussion on the predicament people are facing after demonetisation. Every citizen, every state is going through hardships,” he said, noting that his party has supported the demonetisation move.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said if the debate is about hardships facing people, then there is no need for division of votes and the debate should start immediately.

Mahajan suggested that a debate should begin in the Zero Hour and Parliament will try to find “something out of the zero” as both sides are divide on rules.

However, the Opposition members trooped into the Well as it became clear that the government was not agreeable to their demand.

“It shows you don’t want discussion,” the Speaker said as she adjourned the House till 1245 hours. Before adjourning the House till 1245 hours, the Speaker took up Zero Hour asking members to raise issues of national importance. However, nothing was audbile in the din.

When the proceedings resumed, the Opposition again raised the demand of dicussion to be held under rules which entails voting.

Mahajan said “I have given you one chance. I am ready to allow you (to proceed with the debate).”

However, the dissatisfied Opposition members stormed into the Well again and amidst continued sloganeering, the House was adjourned for the day.

Earlier in the day, members of most of the opposition parties had staged a walk out after their demand for an obituary reference on the soldiers who died in the terror attack on army camp in Jammu was rejected by the Speaker on the grounds that final details were yet to emerge.

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