Noncommittal on an adjournment motion, Home Minister Rajnath Singh stated in Lok Sabha Monday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi “would come to the House if the Opposition so desires and intervene in a discussion on demonetisation, if needed”. The Opposition turned down the offer, chanted slogans and forced yet another adjournment of the House.
The Opposition stormed into the well the moment Speaker Sumitra Mahajan called upon the home minister to speak. Several members had dwelt on the adjournment motion issue, including Mallikarjun Kharge (Congress), Sudip Bandyopadhyay (TMC), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD), P Karunakaran (CPM), Jaiprakash Narain Yadav (RJD), P Kumar (AIADMK) and Anandrao Adsul (Shiv Sena).
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Speaking after question hour, Rajnath said: “Madam, the decision which our government has taken is historic, bold and pro-poor. I want to make it clear, there is not a single person in the country would can put a question mark over the decision taken by our government, by our prime minister. If anyone has a complaint regarding its implementation, we are ready for a debate.” He said it was the Speaker to decide under which rule the discussion would take place. The Speaker adjourned the House until 2 pm.
With Rahul Gandhi seated behind him, Kharge said demonetisation had harmed the economic system, farmers, youth and labourers. He cited an incident of a Union minister [Sadananda Gowda] facing difficulties in clearing hospital bills in Bengaluru after his brother had died of jaundice. He said, “There is only one way to break this deadlock… The prime minister should come here and our adjournment motion be accepted.”
Bandyopadhyay said the government must find a solution to end the deadlock and the prime minister must come and reply to the discussion. Mulayam said the prime minister should tell the House under what compulsion he went for demonetisation. Mahtab made a forceful plea for a debate and said “there is also a need for the government to take suggestions from the Opposition”.
Earlier, the Opposition disrupted question hour by storming the well and shouting slogans. The Speaker had to adjourn the House till 12 noon, some 20 minutes after the House met. In the afternoon, Kharge rose along with some other MPs and asked what had happened to the adjournment motion. However, the Speaker called Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to introduce the Taxation Laws (Amendment) bill that seeks to impose 30 per cent tax and 10 per cent penalty on the undisclosed money that will go along with 33 per cent tax and 25 per cent deposit with a lock-in period.
When Jaitley rose, Opposition MPs ran into the well raising slogans against the prime minister and the government. Amid the din, Jaitley introduced the bill. The Speaker then took up zero hour. The house was eventually adjourned for the day at 2.10 pm.