Parliament: Furore over Prez address, Demonetisation
New Delhi: Parliament witnessed some noisy session as the Opposition continued the furore over the Demonstisation Bill even as the government will move a motion of thank on the President's speech in both Houses.
Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha participated in the motion of thanks to the President Pranab Mukherjee's speech on January 31, which outlined the achievements and agenda of the government.
Opposition picked holes in various government decisions like demonetisation and surgical strikes as well as allocation of funds for MNREGA, agriculture sector and Scheduled Castes, saying it has failed on all fronts despite which it is trying to "fool" the people.
Participating in a debate on Motion of Thanks to the President's Address in the Lok Sabha, Leader of Congress Mallikarjun Kharge repeatedly targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was present and said he should apologise to the nation for the demonetisation decision which caused a "lot of troubles" to all sections of the people.
The government, on the other hand, asserted that the schemes and programmes initiated by it had been a success.
Minister Mahesh Sharma, who initiated the debate, said the entire nation had stood with Modi on the "bold" decision aimed at curbing black money, ending corruption and choking funds to terrorism.
Kharge, while peppering his 90-minute speech with witty digs at the Prime Minister and BJP, said the government was misleading the countrymen by claiming that the nation is progressing fast.
"You can fool some of the people for some time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time," he said quoting Abraham Lincoln and added, "There is failure on all fronts. So what are you talking about?"
Referring to the decisions on demonetisation, digitalisation and surgical strikes and programmes for farmers, backward castes, employment creation, Swacch Bharat and 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao', Kharge asked, "Is the government running properly? Or is just a jumla (slogan)?"
"All the economists have said the decision to ban notes was bad. What steps did the government take before rolling out the plan?"
Kharge, who insisted that his party was willing to have a debate on demonetisation even during the last Winter session of Parliament which was a washout, said the decision to scrap old notes had hit all sections, particularly farmers and the unorganised sector.
He said 125 people lost their lives in the aftermath of this decision. "The Prime Minister did not even say anything on this.
The least he should have done was to introduce a resolution to condole the deaths or should have said that he wants to apologise to the people due to the hardships caused to them," Kharge said in his poetry laden speech, which lasted for nearly one-and-half hour.
Opposition has chosen to target the government over the President’s address and wants more than 650 amendments when the Bill is taken up in Rajya Sabha, which will be a major embarrassment for the government.
Last week, the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has moved the Specified Bank Notes (Cessation of Liabilities) Bill or demonetisation Bill in Lok Sabha. The bill is expected to come up for consideration in the Lok Sabha on February 7.
While Congress has all along protested the note ban calling it a scam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hit back on the Opposition and termed the Samajwadi Party, Congress, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati combine as a "SCAM".
CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury wanted the address to include regret that there is no mention of the death of over 100 people in the wake of demonetisation. Trinamool's Derek O’Brien said the President's address fails to pay respect to lives lost and hardship faced by the common man, farmers, fishermen and small businessmen.
Opposition parties have also contested the government's decision to advance the Budget before the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.
The Opposition stalled the winter session demanding Modi's reply on note ban even as the PM evaded their request.
The Budget along with BST Bills will be taken up after the recess.