Demonetisation: Opposition protests force adjournments of Rajya Sabha till noon

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Opposition parties led by Congress on Wednesday forced two adjournments in the Rajya Sabha in the pre-noon session demanding a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the hardships caused to people by demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

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Slogan-shouting Congress and AIADMK members trooped into the Well, forcing Deputy Chairman P K Kurien to first adjourn the House till 1130 hours and again then till noon.

Soon after the House mourned the passing away of Swaminarayan sect head Pramukh Swami Shastri Narayan Swarup Das, TMC’s Derek O’Brien was up on his feet.

As Deputy Chairman P J Kurien allowed O’Brien to make his submission, slogan shouting AIADMK members trooped into the Well raising slogans demanding that Karnataka release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

They however went back to their seats after Kurien assured that he will allow their leader A Navaneethakrishnan to speak after the TMC leader.

All hell broke lose when Derek asked where the Prime Minister was when the House discusses hardships and inconvience caused by the decision to withdraw old 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

“The person who made the (demonetisation) announcement at 8 o’clock on November 8, where is he,” he said.

Treasury benches countered him vociferously with even Ministers including I&B Minister M Venkaiah Naidu rising to counter the demand.

At this point, Congress members trooped into the Well of the House shouting “Pradhan Mantri Jawab do” (Prime Minister, reply).”

Kurien said the discussion on demonetisation was going on smoothly. “If Finance Minister is available, that is enough,” he said.

The discussion, which was initiated after suspending listed business of the day yesterday, could be resumed if the House is in order, he said. “We can start discussion now,” he said.

At this point, AIADMK members also trooped into the Well shouting slogans, forcing Kurien to adjourn the House till 1130 hours.

There was no change in the scenario in the House when it reassembled at 1130 hours. AIADMK members again trooped into the Well, followed by their Congress counterparts.

BSP chief Mayawati was seen standing her seat as were several members of SP and Left parties.

Naidu rose to make a statement but he could not be heard in the din caused by AIADMK and Congress members in the Well.

Kurien expunged certain references to the Prime Minister made by some opposition members.

“Prime Minister cannot be referred to like that.

Reference to Prime Minister is expunged,” he said, as he tried to pacify members raising slogans in the Well. “I don’t know why are you shouting,” Kurien said.

As his efforts to bring order in the House did not bear fruit, Kurien adjourned the House till noon.

The Question Hour in Rajya Sabha at noon was also washed out due to continued uproar by opposition members, many of whom were in the Well raising slogans.

As soon as the House met at noon, members of Congress, BSP, RJD and TMC trooped into the Well shouting slogans and demanding the presence of the Prime Minister in the House to listen to the grievances of the people due to the demonetisation move being raised by the MPs.

The AIADMK members were also in the Well shouting slogans and demanding the constitution of the Cauvery Management Board.

Repeated requests by Chairman Hamid Ansari to allow the Question Hour failed to yield result, after which he adjourned the House initially till 12:30 hours.

When the House met again, similar uproarious scenes were again witnessed, forcing Ansari to adjourn the House till 2PM.

(With inputs from PTI)

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