The winter session of Parliament witnessed another stormy session on Thursday as former prime minister Manmohan Singh led the Congress charge against demonetisation and called it a “monumental management failure”.
Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar said on Thursday the government is willing to accommodate the Opposition’s suggestions on demonetisation, but asserted that Parliament should run smoothly and “there should be a meaningful discussion”.
Political rivals have intensified attacks against the Modi-led government, demanding a roll-back of demonetisation that has forced millions to queue up outside banks and ATMs since November 9.
The opposition -- which has repeatedly disrupted both Houses -- has accused the BJP-led government of creating “financial anarchy” by scrapping the old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes, a move aimed at curbing black money.
Moment by moment, what happened during the day in both the Houses
3:15pm: Rajya Sabha adjourned for the day. It will reconvene at 11 am on Friday.
3:10pm: Kurien advises Opposition members to “discuss and debate” after ruckus continues in the House. But after they moved towards the Well of the House, Kurien decides to adjourn.
3:05pm: Uproar in the House again over PM’s absence.
3:00pm: Rajya Sabha reconvenes.
2:55pm: “You have created more havoc than Hitler,” West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee tells reporters outside House. “You couldn’t recover Swiss bank black money, but create inconvenience for those with white money.”
2:50pm: “Parties part of every scandal in country opposing demonetisation, ” Arun Jaitley tells reporters outside Parliament House. Here are a few more things he said.
“There is mostly noise and no substance in what the opposition has been saying. First day it was a debate without any conditions, from next day, they started putting unreasonable conditions and it continues”
“Their govt (UPA) had the most scams and black money generated during its tenure. 2G scam, Coal Scam everything happened during their govt”
“Our govt is convinced that steps against corruption and black money are correct”
“Opposition thinks demonetisation is a blunder. Don’t they think Commonwealth Games and 2G were a blunder?”
2:15pm: Deputy chairperson adjourns Rajya Sabha till 3pm as Opposition parties chant slogans, demanding Modi’s presence.
2:10pm: Amid uproar over Modi’s absence, Arun Jaitley accused the Opposition of running away from debate. “There is no tradition that a prime minister has to be in the debate.”
2:05pm: The Upper House erupts again over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s absence in Parliament. Ghulam Nabi Azad questions if the Prime Minister only came for the Question Hour round.
What did opposition say while 2G? That PM will sit and he did so for two days. Now you cannot run away: Ghulam Nabi Azad in RS— ANI (@ANI_news) November 24, 2016
2pm: Rajya Sabha resumes after lunch. Mayawati requests deputy chairman to allow her to complete her statement.
1:50pm: BJP leaders Manohar Parrikar, Rajnath Singh, Suresh Prabhu, Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley and JP Nadda will brief a groups of MPs on demonetisation at 7pm on Thursday.
1pm: BSP chief Mayawati starts talking before Rajya Sabha adjourns for lunch and says the BSP is not against the battle against black money but it does not approve of its implementation.
Terming the survey that showed favourable support for demonetisation as “bogus” and “sponsored”, Mayawati dares Modi to dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections to know the people’s views. “I want to tell Prime Minister Narendra Modi that if you really are an honest man and want a correct survey, and if you have guts, then dissolve Parliament and hold fresh elections,” she said on Thursday.
Union minister Uma Bharti slams Mayawati for her criticism of the government’s demonetisation survey and advised her to donate her money to the poor and marginalised.
Watch | Live debate in Rajya Sabha
12:50pm: O’Brien asks Modi which 92% people are happy with the government’s decision, referring to the online survey conducted by the PM.
“Anyone who opposes your policy is not against black money. Anyone who opposes your policy is not anti-national. We are fighting this battle on the behalf of people,” the TMC leader goes on to say, appealing the government to find a solution.
12:40pm: Derek O’Brien reads out West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s reaction to the decision banning old Rs 500/1000 notes: “While I’m against corruption, this is financial chaos; a disaster... I want to know from the Prime Minister how the poor will manage their daily sustenance. This is Mamata Banerjee reacting to the decision.”
“Mamata Banerjee called (demonetisation) this the ‘big black scandal’”.
TMC questions the government on why it didn’t print small currency notes, and why is there secrecy about printing notes.”Perhaps because you, sir (Jaitley), did not know about the government’s decision (to scrap old notes) either. Secrecy cannot be the excuse for putting people in distress.”
12:30pm: Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agrawal’s statement over Modi’s emotional appeal about his security invokes protests by BJP leaders. “Prime Minister, please stop imposing bans or the public will put a ban on you. I request you to rollback this scheme.”
12:20pm: Lok Sabha has been adjourned for the day as protests over demonetisation continue.
12:10pm: Manmohan Singh starts speaking in Rajya Sabha. The former prime minister and economist says he wants to highlight problems faced by people due to demonetisation, calling it a “monumental management failure”.
“It is important to take note of the grievances of the people... and I say so with all responsibility that we don’t know what will be the final outcome. 50 days may be a short period but it can be torture for the poor. And that’s why 60-65 people have lost their lives. It can weaken and erode people’s confidence in the banking system.”
“Sir (PM Modi), in my opinion, this scheme of monetisation will hurt agricultural growth, small industries and the informal sector of the economy. I feel the GDP can decline by 2 percentage points because of demonetisation. The PM must come with some constructive proposal to help people... I urge the Prime Minister to find practical, pragmatic ways to relieve distress placed upon a huge majority of people in India.”
“It is no good that every day, the banking system modifies rules and conditions. This reflects poorly on the office of the PM, finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India. I am very sorry that the RBI has been exposed to this criticism.”
“I conclude that it is a case of organised loot and legalised plunder,” Singh says in his strongly-worded attack .
Those who say demonetisation is good in the long run should recall quote "In the long run we are all dead: Manmohan Singh in Rajya Sabha— ANI (@ANI_news) November 24, 2016
12:05pm: If PM Modi participates in the debate, the Opposition will resume the debate: Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Jaitley responds, saying Prime Minister will participate in the debate. “Now there will be no ‘Ifs’ and ‘Buts’. Please start the debate.” The House is in agreement.
11.49am: NDTV reports Samajwadi Party MP Akshay Yadav threw a piece of paper at Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
11.46am: Government says there is no need to suspend business in Rajya Sabha for Manmohan Singh to speak, reports NDTV.
“We should not lose more time. The opposition has been asking for discussion on this urgent matter (demonetisation) but they have been delaying it for eight days,” Kumar told the media here.
11.45am: Government and Opposition members clash in Rajya Sabha over former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s desire to speak on demonetisation. “Why is the former prime minister not allowed to speak,” asks Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien.
11.35 am: BSP chief Mayawati calls PM Modi’s public survey on demonetisation fabricated, report TV news channels.
11.18: Rajya Sabha adjourned till noon as Opposition leaders continue to protest. Lok Sabha adjourned too.
11.16am: Congress leader Anand Sharma says Prime Minister Narendra Modi is running away from Parliament. Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson says finance minister is present in House.
11:10am: Kurien does not allow motion by Naresh Aggarwal to discuss problems faced by people due to demonetisation of currency.
TMC’s Derek O’Brien urges Paliament to maintain the sanctity of the House and allow former prime minister Manmohan Singh to speak in Rajya Sabha.
Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 12pm.
11am: Protests drown out Jaitley’s opposition over giving special time to other parties for speaking in Parliament. “It is not the normal zero hour,” says Jaitley. RS deputy chairman PJ Kurien attempts to silence the protesters.
Leader of the House and Arun Jaitley strongly object to Manmohan Singh being given an opportunity to speak outside the debate on the issue of demonetisation.
Lok Sabha takes a moment to mourn the deaths of former parliamentary member Sri Ram Naresh Yadav and Carnatic musician Balamuralikrishnan.
10:50am: Sources say opposition parties have decided in their meeting to not hold talks with the government till November 28 -- when they will mark the ‘Aakrosh Diwas’ and protest at banks.
10:40am: TV reports quote parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar saying that Arun Jaitley will respond in both Houses on Day 7 of Parliament.
10:20am: A meeting is on at Rajnath Singh’s chamber in Parliament. Finance minister Arun Jaitley and other BJP leaders Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar are also present at the meet.
Kumar says it is not a formal meeting and they are “treating all parties equally”.
10:15am: Opposition leaders from various political parties meet in Parliament on Thursday, snubbing the Centre’s call for a meeting to ease the deadlock.
10:10am: Congress’ Mallikarjun Kharge told ANI the party members will meet other opposition leaders and decide if they will attend the meeting called by home minister Rajnath Singh. “Let PM (Narendra Modi) or speaker call for the meet,” Kharge added. Some parties may also announce their individual programmes at the meeting.
TV reports said the home minister had called for a meeting with the Opposition at 10am.
9:25am: Opposition leaders are expected to meet in Parliament ahead of the session on Thursday.
(With inputs from agencies)