Opposition today accused the government of “shameless conduct” by refusing to mourn the death of over 100 persons due to hardships caused by demonetisation, as opposition and treasury benches clashed in Rajya Sabha forcing its adjournment minuters after it met for the day.
BJP members shouted slogans seeking resumption of discussion on the issue as Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad got up to speak. Opposition benches did the same when Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to reply to him.
Chairman Hamid Ansari tried to bring order in the House but with both sides refusing to budge, he adjourned the proceedings till noon.
No sooner were the listed papers laid, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (TMC) said 115 persons have lost their lives in 30 days since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced junking of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes. Their death should be mourned in the House, he said.
Even before he could finish, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu was up on his feet saying “this is politics. Let there be a discussion (on the issue)… November 8 (when the demonetisation was announced) is a historic day.”
He said an unruly opposition has been disrupting proceedings every day.
As Azad indicated his desire to speak, members from the Treasury benches objected.
Ansari said it was a well established practice that the floor is given to the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition whenever they wish to speak.
He also asked ministers not to get agitated, as he allowed Azad to speak.
Naidu said he had greatest respect for the Leaders of the Opposition personally and as an institution but his objection was to opposition members trooping in front of the ministers as soon as their side is heard, practically blocking the government from giving its reaction.
Azad said more than 100 farmers, women, youth and elderly persons have lost their lives in last one month due to hardships caused from wrong policies of the government.
“We wanted this House to mourn their death but the government has refused an obituary reference,” he said, adding that the Opposition was left with no option and 150 MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha belonging to 16 opposition parties observed ‘Black Day’ in front of the Gandhi statue in the Parliament House complex.
Amid slogan shouting, Azad said it was “shameful” act of the government that instead of mourning the death it is adding salt to the injury.
People do not have money and the government says there is enough currency in circulation, the senior Congress leader said, adding “this is the limit of shamelessness.”
At this point, Jaitley got up to reply but opposition members began raising slogans. They were countered by slogan shouting from the BJP benches.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the unfinished discussion on demonetisation should resume immediately.
“Nobody is being heard,” Ansari remarked as he asked members to resume their places.
With none heeding to his pleas, he adjourned the proceedings till 1200 hours.
No sooner did the House reassemble at noon, opposition Congress started raising slogans like ‘Sarkar Sari Mast Hai, Ram Naam Satya Hai’ as Chairman Hamid Ansari called for start of the Question Hour.
Members of other opposition parties too were seen raising slogans and so were those from the treasury benches.
Repeated efforts by Ansari to restore order in the Upper House did not yield result and he adjourned the House till 1400 hrs.