The first day of the Parliament Winter Session began on a stormy note, with Opposition parties putting pressure on the government over its decision to scrap old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for allegedly mocking those waiting in queues to swap or deposit money. “I condemn the PM’s statement in Goa for mocking the people, who are standing in queues. He must apologise. There are people, who are taking turns to stand in ATM lines. So many have died standing in line. This government has no compassion. Your government is insensitive,” he said.
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He also demanded PM Modi to reveal the names of those on the black money holders list, released by Swiss banking authorities. “Government has list of those holding black money in Swiss Bank; we demand that Prime Minister must tell who all are there in the list. An atmosphere has been created by government where questioning the government has become the parameter to decide one’s nationalism,” he added.
Sharma also questioned PM Modi’s remarks at an event in Goa, where the prime minister said there was a threat to his life. “Today, you have to tell us who is threatening you, who wants to kill you, answer parliament, we cannot tolerate it. The entire house condemns it if there is a risk to the PM’s life,” Sharma said. Meanwhile, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury tore into the Central government’s demonetisation policy, saying the move will not end corruption in the country. Participating in a debate on the issue in the Rajya Sabha, Yechury said, “If you stop Rs 500, and Rs 1,000 notes, do you think corruption will stop? Now corruption will double with Rs 2000 notes.”
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Before the session began, PM Modi urged Opposition parties to send out a positive message to the people by supporting his government’s fight against weeding out black money. BSP Supremo and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, however, requested him to participate in the House debate as it was a sensitive issue. Meanwhile, TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lead a protest march to Rashtrapati Bhavan, seeking President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention on the issue. In a setback to Bharatiya Janata Party, NDA alliance partner Shiv Sena also joined hands with Opposition parties to put up an united front against demonetisation.
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At a meeting convened by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad yesterday, the Congress mooted the idea of demanding for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the issue.