Winter session set for a washout as impasse continues
New Delhi : In a changed role, the government and the ruling BJP members on Friday blocked a debate on demonetisation in the Lok Sabha even as the Opposition came around for the discussion without any conditions after creating ruckus since start of the winter session for voting and presence of the Prime Minister to answer its concern over plunging the people into the financial hardships.
[alert type=”e.g. warning, danger, success, info” title=””] “If they allow me to speak in Parliament, then you shall see that an earthquake will happen” Rahul Gandhi[/alert]
Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned for a 4-day recess, with no rapprochement in sight for re-railing a washed-out session in the last three sittings on Wednesday through Friday next week.
A frustrated Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, on being denied opportunity to speak, lashed out at the government outside the House, accusing it of blocking the debate to prevent him from speaking. He claimed an ‘earthquake’ would have come if he got the opportunity to speak he was waiting for the past one month and Prime Minister Modi will not be able to sit in the House as he would have exposed the biggest scam in India, albeit in the world. He wanted to speak on what is in the heart of the masses, the poor, he said.
Rahul had come prepared with a written speech as several Congress MPs kept pleading with him to better release it to the media after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house for a four-day recess in minutes of assembling at noon in the wake of ruckus from both sides. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who turned 70 on Friday, turned up to listen to her son. She walked to BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani’s desk before the House assembled to accept his birthday greetings. She was not attending the House due to infrequent health, except on November 16 and on Thursday.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, whose job is to facilitate smooth functioning of Parliament, led a ruckus by the ruling benches as he jumped to feet to oppose the debate requested by Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge as soon as the House assembled after an adjournment. He wanted the Opposition to first apologise for holding the House to ransom for 16 days with daily disruption.
The Rajya Sabha too was adjourned for a 4-day recess in the afternoon for want of quorum as only four Opposition members, including leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad and deputy Congress leader Anand Sharma, turned up for the private members’ business. The House was adjourned twice earlier in the day, first after a 30-minute pandemonium on removal of import duty on wheat and second in the question hour over noisy duel between two sides.
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri wanted suspension of the day’s business to discuss the removal of the import duty on wheat, saying it were an anti-farmer step to help the multinationals reap profits at a time when the farmers are selling their produces at half the price because of the cash crunch caused by the demonetisation.
Food and Consumer Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, however, asserted that the government does not have any shortage of wheat, but the import duty was removed in view of the rising prices in the last few days. He claimed it was in the consumer’s interest and not a permanent decision.
Congress Vice President Rahul gandhi told reporters after the first adjournment over the ruckus created by the BJP members that “for the last one month, I want to speak in the Lok Sabha… want to speak what is in the heart of the poor across the country about demonetisation… but I am being stopped from speaking.”
He accused the government of not allowing him to speak in Parliament despite his speech being ready, and said: “If they allow me to speak in Parliament, then you shall see that an earthquake will happen.” Hitting out at Prime Minister Modi, Rahul said: “He is giving speeches across the country, but scared of coming in the Lok Sabha. Why is he running away?”