New Delhi: Amid loud protests by the opposition, seeking a debate on the Narendra Modi government’s demonetisation move, India’s Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) was on Friday adjourned as the government and opposition parties continued to indulge in an open war of words.
On day three of the winter session, opposition leaders assembled near the Speaker’s podium raising slogans against the government for withdrawing high-value notes from circulation.
Congress members rushed into the well of the House demanding an apology from Prime Minister (PM) Modi for the hardship caused to the common man due to demonetisation of Rs500 (Dh27) and Rs1,000 rupee notes.
As the opposition members created a ruckus, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House for the day.
The Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) was also adjourned several times as leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded that Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad apologise for his comments made in the House on Thursday, comparing the deaths of soldiers in Uri terror attack with that of people standing in queues outside ATMs and banks post demonetisation.
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Azad had said 40 people had died following government’s decision on demonetisation and that fewer had been killed in attack by Pakistani terrorists in Uri.
“Who should be punished for the death of these 40 people due to wrong policy on demonetisation. Millions of people are troubled by demonetisation. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the government are responsible for this mess,” Azad had said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi sought an apology from Azad for his comments.
Naqvi said Azad’s statement meant that Congress was sympathetic to terrorism. He asked why was the Congress party was so agitated when the demonetisation drive was only to hurt black money hoarders.
Terming Azad’s remark as “anti national”, Information and Broadcasting Minister Naidu demanded that the Congress party apologise for the comparison drawn by Azad.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said Azad’s remarks showed “the frustration and desperation of the Congress’ top leadership following the positive response from the public to the demonetisation move.”
“The remarks made by Ghulam Nabi Azad are atrocious, antinational and an insult to the martyrs of Uri. He should have not uttered this,” Kumar said.
Azad, however, refused to apologise on the issue.
“Bharatiya Janata Party should apologise to the 125 crore [1.25 billion] people of the nation for pushing the country to an edge,” he retaliated.
In September this year, Pakistani terrorists had attacked an army base camp in Kashmir’s Uri in which as many as 19 Indian soldiers were killed. Later, Indian army conducted surgical strikes against terror bases across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.