Parliament was disrupted yet again on Monday with the Opposition changing tact in Rajya Sabha demanding adoption of a condolence resolution for those who have died in queues in banks post-demonetisation and pressing for a discussion under a rule that entails voting.
A united Opposition gave a new dimension in the Upper House by asserting that no discussion on demonetisation would take place till the House adopts a resolution mourning the death of nearly 70 people said to have been caused by hardships after the junking of the high-denomination notes.
The Lok Sabha could not function for the third straight working day as opposition parties insisted on taking up of an Adjournment Motion on demonetisation and a debate under a rule that entails voting. The Rajya Sabha, which saw a day-long inconclusive debate on demonetisation on the opening day of the Winter session on November 16, has failed to transact any business since then as the Opposition has been pressing for the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his response to the debate.
Among those pressing for the condolence resolution were Congress, BSP, TMC and CPI(M). Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accused the Opposition of running away from the demonetisation debate.
"Merits and demerits will come out in a debate... Why are they (opposition parties) running away from debate? This is clear now that the opposition is not ready for debate and is coming up with new excuses to disrupt the House," he said amid slogan shouting by opposition members who were in the well of the House.
Stating that the notice for suspension of business under Rule 267 was accepted on the first day of the winter session and a debate had started, Jaitley said the reported deaths could come up during the course of this debate and the reply to it.
The House was adjourned repeatedly even as the government side, including Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, continued to question the opposition's behaviour. "The sense of the country is against black money. Sense of the country is in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and against those opposing demonetisation," Naqvi said repeatedly, adding that the opposition is unable to feel the pulse of the people.
As the uproar continued, the House was adjourned for the day at minutes past 3 PM. Similar was the situation in the Lok Sabha with opposition parties disrupting the proceedings for the third consecutive day by demanding Adjournment Motion (suspension of all work) and discussion on demonetisation under a rule that entails voting.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was ready for the debate if the opposition allowed the discussion under Rule 193 that does not entail voting or passage of a resolution. The opposition rejected it. Due to the uproar, the House was adjourned repeatedly and the finally for the day at around 2 PM.