Demonetisation: Prime Minister Modi may speak in Parliament today
Bracing for a showdown in Parliament, the BJP and Congress have instructed their members in both Houses to ensure their presence for the remainder of the Winter session which resumes today. The issue of demonetisation has cast a shadow on the winter session of Parliament with the opposition parties protesting the governments move to scrap high-value notes.
The Congress has issued the whip amid concerns in its ranks that the ruling side would rake up the AgustaWestland helicopter issue to target its top brass to "divert attention from hardships faced by people due to demonetisation", sources in the party said.
Before Parliament reconvenes, leaders of Opposition parties will hold a meeting in the morning to decide their strategy in the House.
On its part, the ruling BJP also issued a whip to ensure that the treasury benches are in full strength in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with key ministers before Parliament convenes this morning to decide their strategy.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has urged the Congress and other opposition parties to start a debate on demonetisation.
Information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present in Parliament for the three remaining days of the Session and can participate in proceedings for either of the House depending on the need.
Congress sources blamed the government, saying it has made no attempt to reach out to the Opposition to break the logjam.
Both the government and the Opposition, especially the Congress and Trinamool Congress, have stuck to their stand that the debate be held under a Rule that entails voting which the treasury benches have ruled out.
Last Friday, the Congress changed its stand and expressed readiness for a debate under "no rule".
Pitching for a debate, finance minister Arun Jaitley urged the Congress and other opposition parties to "rise above slogans..." and participate constructively.
The winter session, which began on November 16, is scheduled to conclude on Friday, with indications that it could be a virtual washout.
Parliament has seen little transaction of any substantial business because of the Opposition ruckus over demonetisation and some other issues.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha continued to be deadlocked over the way a debate should take place on demonetisation, which was announced by the Prime Minister on November 8.
Ever since the session began, the Lok Sabha has managed to conduct only two legislative actions -- passage of Income Tax amendment bill and approval of Supplementary Demand for Grants -- that too amid din and without much debate.
The Rajya Sabha has functioned normally only on the first day of the session when the debate on demonetisation was initiated and held for about 5 hours.