Irked at the continued absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the House, the Opposition plans on charging him with contempt of Parliament.
“We are looking at the legal issues whether we can bring the notice of contempt in Lok Sabha (where Modi is a member) or the Upper House,” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yehcury told Hindustan Times.
The Opposition is keen to bring the motion for breach of privilege and contempt of Parliament in Rajya Sabha where they enjoy a majority, after the Parliament proceeding was disrupted for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday. The BJP accused the Congress of shying away from a debate as the Congress and other parties demanded the PM’s presence.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi kept up his attack on the Prime Minister. “He can speak on TV, he can speak in pop concerts, why not in Parliament?” he told reporters outside the Parliament House. “Why is not the Prime Minister coming to Parliament? Why isn’t he coming to Parliament and speaking?”
To buttress their demand for the Prime Minister’s presence, a united opposition said the number of those who have died since the move is a serious concern, which needs to be raised in the House. Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Sharad Yadav demanded compensation for families of those who died from exhaustion or in stampedes while waiting in line at banks or ATMs, from shock or from committing suicide due to misinformation. “The government should give Rs 10 lakh compensation to the kin of the people who have died since demonetisation,” Yadav said.
Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad also raised the issue of those who died since the demonetisation.
Unable to get the opposition to agree to resuming the discussion on demonetisation, the BJP countered the Congress and the other parties for raising questions on the move, which is aimed at weeding out counterfeit currency that finds its way to fund terror and drug cartels. “When the discussion (on demonetisation) started, there was no logic or facts in their (opposition’s) arguments. They struggled for arguments all through. The discussion should not be in bits and pieces. Please allow a discussion,” parliamentary affairs minister, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, said.
Earlier in the day, 13 Opposition parties sat for their second strategy meet. It was decided that all Opposition parties, barring AIADMK and BJD, will sit for a dharna near the Gandhi statute in Parliament complex. “It was also decided that parties must try to involve people in their agitations,” said a Congress leader. The plan to march to the President did not finalise as the Left parties have not warmed up to the idea.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said she will hold a dharna at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday afternoon.