The Winter Session of Parliament has been a rough one, with the Opposition protesting the demonetisation and the government defending it. The end result -- both houses have been adjourned repeatedly.
Monday morning saw Members of Parliament creating a ruckus in the well of the Lok Sabha ignoring several requests from Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to maintain order. When the members refused to listen, Mahajan, according to India Today, said that they were making a scene to appear on TV. "If you want to come on TV, I will tell the Lok Sabha TV people to show you, but don't disturb the minister," the harried Speaker said.
Her remark did not go unchallenged. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, told Mahajan, "We are not here to be on TV. We want to debate but the government is not listening to us."
The opposition parties seem to be in no mood to relent, having decided to take on the government over demonetisation.
A PTI report says that leaders of the Congress party, the Trinamool Congress, JD(U), BSP, CPI(M), CPI, NCP, RJD, JMM and DMK held a meeting on Monday morning to forge a common plan of action with the aim of mounting an attack on the government.
It has been decided that MPs belonging to these 10 parties will stage a sit-in near Mahatma Gandhi's statue inside the Parliament complex on Wednesday. This will be followed by a march to Rashtrapati Bhawan, the date for which is being worked out, the sources said.
With Trinamool Congress taking the lead in uniting the opposition parties, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee is expected to reach Delhi tomorrow for the agitational programme.
"This is good news that opposition parties have decided to work together with focus on alleviating the sufferings of the people," Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien told PTI.
Besides Rahul Gandhi, those who attended today's meeting included the Congress party's Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge and the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Trinamool's Sudip Bandhyopadhyay and O'Brien, JD(U)'s Sharad Yadav, BSP's Satish Mishra, CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury, and CPI's D Raja.
"The PM can speak on Coldplay [rock music concert], but not address the opposition on demonetisation, demands for a JPC on leakage of demonetisation information to some corporates and deaths of people standing in queue to get money from banks and ATMs," said Mohd Salim of CPI-M.
While the Lok Sabha session has been a washout so far, Tuesday might not be very different, with the opposition parties continuing to press for an adjournment motion in Lok Sabha and a debate under a rule which entails voting.
According to sources, leaders of the opposition parties will hold strategy sessions every morning before Parliament assembles during the ongoing Winter session.
(With PTI inputs)