A cashier displays the new 2000 Indian rupee banknotes inside a bank in Jammu. Photograph: (Reuters)
Confused how the demonetisation gamble would play out in the public, opposition parties calibrated their stand in parliament carefully
By Manan Kumar and Abhishek Bhalla
India's ruling Bhartiya Janata Party governement seems confident that it would be able to brazen out the opposition attack on demonetisation in the parliament and emerge victorious in the final analysis, as the "popular sentiment" of people is with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Tipped by the top leadership to behave well and not pick up a fight, the treasury benches weathered the storm of a vociferous opposition pretty well on the first day of the Winter Session in upper house.
Still confused how the demonetisation gamble would play out in the public, the opposition parties calibrated their stand carefully as all the 13 notices by members demanding discussion under rule 267 did not question demonetisation in principle, but referred to problems arising out because its hasty implementation or social and economic fall out due to demonetisation.
Beginning the debate, Anand Sharma attacked PM Modi over selective leak on demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes to "friends of BJP". His charges found an echo among other Opposition parties.
As the debate was in progress, BSP chief Mayawati demanded the presence of the Prime Minister in the House to hear out the Opposition parties and address their concerns.
Supporting her, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said since Lok Sabha has adjourned for the day, Modi should hear out at least the major parties.
Aware that the debate was being watched intently by the public, the treasury benches, especially cabinet minister Venkaiah Naidu, made it a point to heap praises on PM Modi by quoting his speeches and eulogising him as a great leader who has raised India's stature in the world.
Condemning the scathing attack on PM Modi by Congress member who claimed that Modi will be remembered as the fourth one to demonetise currency after Colonel Qaddafi, Hitler and Mussolini, Naidu said, the more you say against PM Modi, the more you will be exposed among people who are fully with the Maha Yagna that is being performed by the PM.
Hailing the decision, Power Minister Piysuh Goyal claimed that honest people in the country have been honoured for the first time, while the corrupt will face action and losses.
"No honest tax-payer will lose a single rupee. The loss will be of those who have amassed wealth through corruption and black money and the public should also support the government in the move," he said.
(This report first appeared in DNA)