India: Both Houses of Parliament adjourned after demonetisation uproar

WION New Delhi, India Nov 17, 2016, 07.34 AM(IST)

The Lower House was adjourned for the day. The Upper House has been adjourned till 2pm. Photograph:( Reuters )

A united opposition's demand for a debate on demonetisation under a rule which entails voting today forced the adjournment of India's Lower House (Lok Sabha) for the day after the government refused to accede to their request.

The Upper House (Rajya Sabha) was also adjourned after opposition parties - led by the Congress - protested the hardship faced by the people after the Indian government decided to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1000 bank notes.

Parliamentarians also insisted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be present during the discussion.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told the Lok Sabha the government was willing to debate the issue under a rule which did not entail voting (Rule 193) since it wanted Parliament to have a united stand on the issue.

He also said people were with the government on the issue. "They want black money, fake currency... To be finished. We want cooperation from you. We are ready to discuss. We do not want two voices to emerge from Parliament," he said.

Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned proceedings for the day after the opposition, including the TMC, Congress, the Left, SP and RJD, refused to budge and marched into the Well of the House.

TMC leader Sudip Bandhyopadhyay, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, AND RJD's Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav led the demand for an adjournment motion.

"We all want a discussion under the Rule 56 so that we can know what is the stand of all parties when they vote. Then everyone will participate," Kharge said.

He said his party wanted to discuss the "hardship being faced by the people" and the government's failure to redress the plight." 

Sudip Bandhopadhyay said opposition parties were together. "We are in a mood to censure the government."

In the Rajya Sabha, pandemonium erupted after TMC''s Derek O'Brien asked where the prime minister was when the House discusses hardships and inconvience caused by the decision to withdraw the 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

"The person who made the (demonetisation) announcement at 8 o'clock on November 8, where is he," he said.

(WION with  inputs from agencies)