POLITICS

Notice Of Contempt To Dharnas, Opposition Is Upping Its Game Against PM Modi And Demonetisation

It's not going to be a peaceful day.

23/11/2016 10:31 AM IST | Updated 23/11/2016 10:42 AM IST
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Adnan Abidi / Reuters
Delegation of members of parliamentarians and leaders from various political parties march towards the Rashtrapati Bhavan protesting against demonetisation.

After a complete washout since the day the Winter Session of Parliament began last week, the Opposition, protesting against demonetisation, has now decided to up its game. Their demand -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to speak in Parliament about demonetisation.

While Prime Minister Modi has not given any assurance to the agitating MPs, the CPI-M has sought legal opinion on moving a contempt notice against him.

"If the Prime Minister makes a major policy announcement outside Parliament, particularly when it has been summoned by the President, it is incumbent that he comes to both Houses to explain the issue. This has not been done," said party general secretary Sitaram Yechury at a press conference on Tuesday.

"We are examining the issue and we would like to move contempt notice against the Prime Minister after discussing with other opposition parties," Yechury said, criticising Modi for his "arrogance and obduracy" in not facing Parliament.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that Opposition parties have also planned nationwide protests. This is apart from the joint dharna on the Parliament premises and the march to the Rasthrapati Bhawan.

The Indian Express reports that while the Opposition is united about not easing pressure on the government, there is a difference of opinion on how to go about it. While Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad has allegedly visited the Trinamool Congress office to discuss details of the dharna on Parliament premises, Mamata Banerjee has her own plans of holding a dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.

The CPI-M, the report says, is not happy with the march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

On Tuesday, responding to the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the Speaker of the Lok Sabha or the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha will decide under what rule such a discussion or debate can and will take place.

Meghwal said that despite the heavy criticism from the opposition, the ruling party stands firmly by its demonetisation drive and added that further improvements will be made in this regard but there is no question of rolling it back.

"When the all party meeting was held before the house started they said they wanted to discuss on demonetisation and on that basis the house started. The government is ready for any kind of discussion. People have accepted demonetisation so they feel that they are coming in the back-foot. Further improvements in this regard will be made but there is no question of rolling it back," he said

"In Rajya Sabha they are demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's presence and in Lok Sabha they are saying that under rule 56 the discussion must take place. We said in the Lok Sabha that we are ready for any kind of discussion so that people come to know the benefits of demonetistion. It is going to benefit the lower class people," he added.

This was after both houses were adjourned.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi too had taken a dig at the Prime Minister saying he could speak in concerts, but could not speak in Parliament. He was referring to Modi's video-address at the Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex on 19 November.

Modi has however asserted that the public supports the "second cleanliness drive" which has been launched against black money.

But with the Opposition upping its ante, unless the Prime Minister speaks in Parliament, a peaceful work day in both houses seems unlikely anytime soon.

(With PTI and ANI inputs)

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