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Parliament staring at another stormy day as Oppn calls for nationwide protests

The Congress has clarified it hasn’t called a shutdown but will hold protest demonstrations.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2016 10:56 IST
HT Correspondent
Opposition vs Govt

Members of the Indian Youth Congress shout slogans against the government as they are hit by a water cannon during a protest against the demonetisation at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on November 18. The Congress has clarified it hasn’t called a shutdown but will hold protest demonstrations.(AFP file photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Monday morning meet senior ministers in Parliament that has seen regular disruptions over his government’s decision to scrap high-value notes.

The opposition parties, too, were to go into a huddle to decide their plan for the House.

Outside Parliament, the parties have planned protests across the country against demonetisation. Though Left has called a 12-hour bandh, the call hasn’t found many takers in the Opposition camp.

The Congress has clarified it hasn’t called a shutdown but will hold protest demonstrations.

Breaking ranks, Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar will stay away from the “Janaakrosh Divas”. He has come out in support of the government’s decision to recall Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The winter session that is in its second week has barely got any business done, with the government and the Opposition locking horns over demonetisation.

Monday is again expected to be stormy as the Opposition is upset over remarks made by Modi at a function when he said those opposing the move were upset as they were caught unawares.

“The government’s decision is being criticised by a few for not being prepared. Actually they are perturbed that they were caught unawares. If they had been given 72 hours, they would have said there is no one like Modi,” the Prime Minister said at an event on Friday.

The rivals have demanded an apology from the Modi, saying he had questioned their integrity.

Last week saw bitter exchanges between the two sides, with the Opposition questioning the Prime Minister’s absence from the House. Modi should be in Parliament to answer their queries, they said.

After announcing the decision on November 8, the Prime Minister has spoken on demonetisation on several occasions but outside the House.

He was in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday but didn’t speak. The opposition that day fielded his predecessor Manmohan Singh to lead the charge.

Singh, credited with opening India’s economy, warned that demonetisation could shave two percentage points off India’s growth and hit the poor the hardest. With Modi in the House, Singh criticised the government for “monumental mismanagement” in implementing the currency switch that has led to long queues outside banks and ATM kiosks.

The Opposition has accused the government of unleashing financial anarchy as people struggle to get cash almost three weeks after the surprise decision.