Demonetisation: Opposition may observe 'Day of Rage', Rahul Gandhi demands parliamentary committee probe
The Indian government announced the demonitisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes from November 8. (AFP) Photograph: (AFP)
Opposition parties in India have planned a countrywide protest - Aakrosh Diwas - on November 28 over the government's demonetisation move.
The Trinamool Congress (TMC), led by Mamata Banerjee, today staged a sit-in protest in the Indian capital at Jantar Mantar, demanding a rollback of the demonetisation drive.
The TMC has appealed to NGOs, charitable organisations, political parties, student groups, civil society representatives and others to join the protest against this "financial emergency", news agency ANI reported.
Janata Dal United (JD-U) Rajya Sabha member Sharad Yadav also joined TMC's protest as almost 200 members of Parliament belonging to the Opposition parties formed a giant human chain outside Parliament demanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's presence in the House.
The major parties which participated in the protest were the Congress, Bhartiya Samajwadi Party (BSP), JD (U), TMC, AIADMK, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Left parties, Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and the Samajwadi Party (SP).
"The nation is standing in line (referring to the queues outside ATMs) and we are doing just that here," Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said.
Gandhi later told the media that Prime Minister Modi must come to the Parliament and address the members over the government's decision. He demanded the setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the alleged selective leakage of the decision. He said that finance minister Arun Jaitley and the Chief Economic Advisor were not even consulted by Prime Minister Modi before considering the decision, an ANI report said.
"Not a surgical strike, but carpet bombing on people", "Stop the persecution of common people" and "Save poor people", were some of the slogans on the placards held by the leaders, ANI reported.
Senior union ministers including Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar were at the time holding a meeting in Venkaiah Naidu's chamber discussing the government's strategy in Parliament.
Meanwhile, an uproar by Opposition parties over the issue led to the Lok Sabha being adjourned yet again today.
Union minister Ananth Kumar said that the government was ready for a debate. "The Parliament session is very important. Poor people want demonetisation to be a success, they see Prime Minister as their messiah; Opposition is overlooking the public's mood. Opposition is not allowing a discussion in the house by creating uproar. On the contrary, they are putting the blame on the government," said union minister for Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu.
"Keeping in view the interest of the poor and the middle-class and the lower middle-class, the Prime Minister has taken this radical, bold, revolutionary step of fighting against corruption and black money. This is a crusade against corruption and black money, the entire country is happy about it," he added. Naidu, however, admitted that there were some problems, which were being attended to and addressed.
Rahul Gandhi, however, said, "The Speaker is refusing to give us a debate under an adjournment motion. Question is not whether Prime Minister sits there, question is, are we being allowed to speak? There are 200 MPs who are standing outside today, who want a debate to be allowed in the Lok Sabha."
"We want to have a debate on the adjournment motion because the adjournment motion is a motion which has an element of censure in it, we wanted Prime Minister's presence," said former union minister Kamal Nath.
(WION with inputs from ANI)