Deadlock in Lok Sabha deepens over Rijiju, demonetisation issues; House adjourned the day

Congress members were also angry over Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's decision to allow BJD to raise the issue of AgustaWestland scam.

Published: 14th December 2016 12:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2016 06:11 PM   |  A+A-

MOS Home Kiren Rijiju arrives at Parliament house in New Delhi on Wednesday. | (Shekhar Yadav/EPS)


NEW DELHI: The three-week long deadlock over demonetisation issue deepened today with the government accusing the Opposition in Lok Sabha of making attempts to fail the "pro-poor" decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, inviting a furious response.

Congress members were also angry over Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's decision to allow Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) to raise the issue of AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal scam, ignoring their leader Mallikarjun Kharge's plea to have his say. Sonia Gandhi too was seen protesting against Mahajan's decision.

Kharge was heard shouting as to why the BJD member was allowed to speak as he repeatedly banged the bench.

With members of Congress, TMC and others raising slogans in the Well, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar fired a fresh salvo at the Opposition, citing a sting operation aired on a news channel to allege that Congress, SP and BSP leaders had joined hands to "finish off" the government's efforts to bolster the white economy.

Kumar insisted that the ruling side was ready for a discussion on demonetisation but the Opposition was running away and disrupting proceedings.

"It is a very sad day. The leader (Kharge) of the Opposition is challenging the Speaker. He cannot do that. It is very unfortunate. We are always ready for discussion," Kumar said and then cited the sting to attack the Opposition.

"They have become 'note-jugaad' (managing currency) parties. It is a conspiracy to finish off what Modi has brought for the poor," he said.

Jagdambika Pal (BJP) claimed that the Opposition would be exposed. "It is a matter of shame that the Congress which participated in freedom struggle has become a commission agent," he said amid vociferous slogan-shouting by Opposition.

Opposition members were also heard raising slogans against Union Minister Kiren Rijiju over an alleged case of corruption in an Arunachal Pradesh hydel project.

With ruckus continuing, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

Raising the AgustaWestland issue, Mahtab expressed concern over defence purchases in the wake of the arrest of former Air chief S P Tyagi in the case.

Accusing both the previous UPA government and the current BJP dispensation of "sleeping over" the case for a long time, he said an impression is going around that Tyagi's arrest had something to do with politics and asked the government to clear the air.

As Congress questioned the decision to allow Mahtab to speak, the Speaker said she would not allow Kharge as long as Congress members were in the Well.

Kharge was heard saying that demonetisation has hit the poor hard but a discussion was being not allowed.

Before it was adjourned for the day, Lok Sabha had witnessed another adjournment till noon when the Opposition created a ruckus while training their guns on the government over the controversy involving Union Minister Kiren Rijiju and the demonetisation issue.

As soon as the House met for the day, Opposition members, including those from Congress, TMC and Left parties, were on their feet raising demands about certain issues, including the controversy involving Rijiju and demonetisation.

Some members from the Treasury benches were also on their feet waving papers but both sides were not audible amid the din. Some members from the Left parties trooped into the Well.

The Opposition members were seen raising concerns about alleged misuse of office by Rijiju, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, with regard to a power project in Arunachal Pradesh. With the ruckus continuing, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan the proceedings were adjourned till noon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party's Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were present in the House then.

Lok Sabha has been witnessing a virtual washout since the Winter Session started on November 16 with the Opposition and the government locking horns over the demonetisation issue.


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