The Opposition on Wednesday scaled up the attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Rajya Sabha over the decision to scrap currencies of higher denomination and sought an “apology” for “insulting” the Upper House through his continued absence. The opposition leaders also castigated Modi for replying to the criticism of his demonetisation decision outside Parliament when the Winter Session is on.
During a book release function on Tuesday, Modi had slammed the Opposition for “daring” to “openly back corruption and black money”.
Members from the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Left parties, DMK, NCP, Samajwadi Party (SP) and BSP demanded Modi’s presence in the House and asked the Chair to do so before the discussion on demonetisation is resumed. There were also sarcastic suggestions to make the House “function online if the Prime Minister does not have time”. Protesting members trooped into the Well, forcing three adjournments before the House was adjourned for the day.
They also reiterated their demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee to go into the “sudden announcement” of demonetisation of 86 per cent of the currency in circulation, and claimed this has “crippled” India’s economy and created a “financial anarchy”.
A day after CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said Opposition parties were being consulted to decide on moving a contempt notice against Modi for “refusing to be answerable to Parliament”, BSP chief Mayawati Wednesday urged the Chair to call the Prime Minister to the House “since the government does not want to call him”.
Mayawati said, “There is chaos all across. More than 75 people have died due to the currency ban. The situation is very bad, serious and sensitive… Please call the PM so that he listens to the points we raise and answers. Since the government does not want to call him, you call him. I want to tell the PM that when the House is running, he should give answers on the currency ban issue in Parliament instead of outside the House. This is ignoring and insulting the House.”
Yechury said Modi is violating the Constitution, as the government is “answerable to the House, and Parliamentarians are answerable to the people”. TMC’s Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said Modi cannot make statements on policy decisions outside the House when Parliament is in session. He asked the Chair to give a ruling on Modi speaking outside.