Opposition moves to corner Govt, PM Modi hits back, says his decision troubles them

Opposition leaders met in New Delhi Monday evening to draw up a common strategy to take on the government over its move to demonetise higher denomination currency notes and the problems being faced by people.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: November 17, 2016 1:30 pm
demonetisation, currency ban, narendra modi, pm modi, parliament winter session, winter session parliament, congress on demonetisation, india news, indian express, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan chairs an all-party meeting in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Setting the stage for a stormy start Wednesday to the month-long winter session of Parliament, Opposition leaders met in New Delhi Monday evening to draw up a common strategy to take on the government over its move to demonetise higher denomination currency notes and the problems being faced by people. But the very issue which brought them together also revealed divisions in the Opposition ranks.  What did, however, become clear that the Opposition parties — Congress, JD(U), Trinamool Congress, CPM, CPI, RJD, JMM and the YSR Congress, which are likely to be joined by BSP, DMK and possibly SP for another meeting Tuesday — will not let Parliament function and try to put the BJP-led government on the mat over the demonetisation issue.


There was no unanimity on proposals like marching to Rashtrapati Bhavan to jointly petition President Pranab Mukherjee on November 16 — this was suggested by Trinamool leader and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Congress tossed the idea of seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the demonetisation decision but did not find many takers. While the Trinamool wants the decision rolled back, the Congress and other parties are not on board.

While none of the other leaders responded to the JPC idea floated by the Congress, party sources said it will take a call once the sessions begins. The Congress alleged that scheduled banks saw a steep increase in deposits — in its words, Rs 5.88 lakh crore — in September as compared to August and argued that this needed to be probed. It also alleged that “a select few” had prior knowledge about the demonetisation move.

At the meeting, it was JD(U)’s Sharad Yadav who first shot down the Trinamool proposal. Sources said Yadav told the meeting that the Opposition should first exhaust all options in Parliament before deciding on a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan. CPM’s Sitaram Yechury maintained silence — his party is not comfortable with the idea of a joint protest with Bengal arch-rival Trinamool.

Sources said Trinamool’s Sudip Bandopadhyay and Derek O’Brien told the meeting that they had already taken a November 16 appointment with the President. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad is learnt to have asked them who did they take the appointment for. When Trinamool leaders said it was for all Opposition parties, Azad asked them how could they take an appointment on behalf of other parties.

But after the meeting, Azad said: “We have decided to work together.”

The meeting was also attended by Congress floor leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, its deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, CPI’s D Raja RJD’s Prem Chand Gupta, JMM’s Sushil Kumar and M Rajamohan Reddy of YSR Congress.

Asked if all Opposition parties would be joining the Trinamool march to the President, Azad said: “The question is not who is going with whom or who is leading. The question is when to go, which date to go, whether to go mid-session or later.”

He said Opposition parties had come out with separate statements on the demonetisation issue, but they were one “now”. He said Opposition leaders would meet again Tuesday because some parties could not make it Monday. These included the NCP, DMK, SP and BSP.

“It was a preliminary meeting where we reached a broad consensus,” Raja said after the meeting.

“We are all against black money,” Azad told the media, underlining that he wished to flag two points. One, the way the government had brought about demonetisation of high-value notes “by leaking it first to its own party before the deadline. The country has been betrayed (desh ko dhokha diya)… This has never happened before”. Two, he said, “crores of people” have been subjected to a lot of hardship because “there is no currency and ATMs are not working”.

Yechury told reporters that his party wanted the government to allow people to utilise their “white money” for paying bills for public utilities and buying essential commodities with old high-value notes until December 31.

“We will raise the issue in Parliament and from there we will take it forward,” Yechury said, adding, “let us see first what the government’s response is.” The CPM, he said, favoured “a step-by-step approach” instead of starting with the march to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

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  1. D
    Nov 15, 2016 at 7:16 am
    I dnt think our pm did nethin wrong wht he did was absolutely correct it has to b instant decision only them black money thing will solve all opposition party r worried abt d loot dey hv done in so many yrs knw wer will dey go wit it thts d only reason n common ppl r facing issues bt nt as much as many politicians who says abt common pplz bt wnt to clear der problems I think our PM did rite thing n I support him
    1. I
      Nov 15, 2016 at 2:49 am
      The loudness of their protests seem to indicate there is something shady going on in the opposition ranks. I'm with Modi on this one.
      1. D
        Nov 15, 2016 at 2:31 pm
        Zafar Gani: Your comment so stupid why don't you go to stan that's where you should be anything goes in stan is law order Country
        1. H
          Nov 15, 2016 at 7:56 am
          The Criminal and Corrupt Political Parties - Italy Madam led Con Party, The terrorists protector Bengal Lady, Mulla layam Party in UP - who all have combined strength of less than 100 in Parliament are trying to block Parliament in an attempt to protect their masters black money. If they continue to indulge in anti national activities, they will be reduced to zero in the next elections.
          1. I
            IML sood
            Nov 15, 2016 at 3:45 am
            Not only PM or Govt. people are now ready to hit these corrupt leaders so hard that they will come to senses.Enough is enough now.
            1. J
              Nov 15, 2016 at 12:30 am
              saare oppn keedon ko ek saath mal daalo
              1. J
                Nov 15, 2016 at 3:43 am
                The new Rs. 2000 it looks like was printed in BJP press. Few drops of water fell and color spreads and it faded. A student from Somalia said it resembles his country's currency. People are pointing many mistakes on it. Last Rs. 1000 and Rs. 500 looked like real currencies but this new one looks fake from the beginning and it will be copied very easily.
                1. J
                  Jayo khan
                  Nov 15, 2016 at 3:44 am
                  16 days additional window for builders, jewellers etc etc to convert the money thru petrol pumps, trust, hospitals.
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