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Face-off between govt, Opposition over cash chaos hits Parliament on Day 3

As the Opposition and the ruling side clashing over the demonetisation move, both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha failed to do any business on Friday morning.

Parliament winter session 2016 Updated: Nov 18, 2016 12:21 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times
Parliament,Demonetisation hits Parliament,Rajya Sabha
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad along with other members protesting in Rajya Sabha during the winter session of Parliament in New Delhi on Thursday.(PTI)

Parliament was adjourned within minutes of opening on Friday, with the Opposition and the ruling side clashing over the demonetisation move as snaking queues continue outside banks and ATMs 10 days after the surprise decision.

Scenes similar to Thursday, when both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha failed to do any business, played out on Friday morning.

The ruling side insisted the Congress apologise for the controversial remarks made by its leader Ghulam Nabi Azad during Thursday’s Rajya Sabha debate on the government’s move to withdraw Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The Lok Sabha was adjourned to noon, with Opposition insisting on debate under a rule that entails voting.

Read | Winter session of Parliament Day 3 proceedings Live

Parliament was logjammed on Thursday, as the Opposition demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi answer its queries on demonetisation, which has led to cash chaos in the country.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley is to reply on the debate on scrapping of the high-value banknotes. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi may also speak on the issue in the Lok Sabha if the House discusses demonetisation.

On Thursday, the two Houses faced repeated disruptions before the BJP latched on controversial comments of Azad, who is the leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, on demonetisation move.

The remarks were expunged from the House records.

Read | Election commission asks govt not to use indelible ink at banks

Parliament has not passed a bill so far this winter session. Two bills have been listed for business in the Rajya Sabha. Three bills related to the GST are on top of the agenda.

The maternity benefits bill is listed for passage on Friday. The bill aims to provide more leaves from work, relaxed working hours and other benefits. But the bill may not get passed amid the ongoing ruckus in the House.

Information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu told HT on Thursday, “We are confident that the GST bill will be passed in this session only. There will not be any problem in its passage.”

The minister, however, didn’t indicate when the three GST bills would be introduced. “We are now focused on the current situation (debate on demonetisation). We will take a call when the appropriate time comes,” he said.

Read | Why Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already won the demonetisation gambit

First Published: Nov 18, 2016 11:46 IST