An exchange took place between JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Rajya Sabha Wednesday. It headlined a day when the Opposition forced adjournments with a demand for an obituary reference to 25 soldiers killed since India’s strikes across the LoC and 82 citizens who died allegedly because of hardships arising out of demonetisation. Sharad Yadav attacked the government on both counts as members of the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the BSP and the SP raised a din.
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Yadav said it has never happened that seven armymen including two officers have been martyred — at Nagrota army base near Jammu — and there has been no obituary reference. “You say the demonetisation has been done in national interest, so have the 90 people, old and young, who have lost lives standing in queues,” he said.
Jaitley responded: “Sharadji should first discuss within his party to know if it is in agreement with him or not.” JD(U) chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has supported the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation decision.
Yadav responded there are no differences. “We are not against demonetisation. We are against the destruction caused by the move,” he said. He asked Jaitley why he had not responded to his demand for condolence. Jaitley replied: “If you want discussion (on the issue), let there be discussion.” Yadav said there should be condolence. He then returned Jaitley’s earlier question: “Is your prime minister with you? Is he listening to you?”
Earlier, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy (Trinamool) said he had given a notice under rule 267 for an obituary resolution to mourn the martyrdom of 25 army personnel since the surgical strikes and 82 deaths of people standing in queue. Deputy chairman P J Kurien said the notice isn’t permitted.
Jaitley said the government was ready for discussion on both issues, from where the exchange with Sharad Yadav followed.
Between adjournments, Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded a statement from the defence minister on Nagrota, Mayawati (BSP) demanded a condolence message, Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) demanded compensation of Rs 10 lakh to each family that has lost a member to hardships caused by demonetisation, and Derek O’Brien (TMC) demanded the PM’s presence.
Parliamentary Affairs MoS Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Nagrota operation is still under way so a statement by the defence minister could not be made immediately.