PM Narendra Modi Ready To Speak In Parliament Today, Over To Opposition

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in parliament today, but will he speak on the notes ban? That will depend on the floor strategies decided in two separate meetings held before Houses convene after a long weekend today. While PM Modi met with top ministers, a united opposition put its head together to decide on how to take on the government. With only three days of the winter session now remaining, both the BJP and the Congress have ordered their lawmakers to attend parliament in full strength.
The stand-off between the government and opposition over how to debate the notes ban continues. The opposition wants a vote at the end, the government says no. An offer from the Congress to discuss demonetisation under “no rule” was not received well by the ruling BJP last week.
The opposition has demanded that PM Modi must be present through the debate and then explain the notes ban. The BJP says the PM is ready to speak but the opposition has not allowed him to by disrupting parliament. Union minister Venkaiah Naidu said yesterday that PM Modi will be in parliament for the rest of the session, but added, “You want Prime Minister to come to House and listen to all the abuses. Who are they (opposition) to decide and dictate?”
If there is a debate, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will speak first and the BJP fears that the opposition may, after that speech, disrupt proceedings and not allow PM Modi to speak.
The Congress wants all its lawmakers to be present in the Houses to counter the ruling BJP, which is likely to bring up the AgustaWestland helicopter deal after former Air Chief SP Tyagi, arrested on Friday, alleged that the then Prime Minister’s office of the Congress government had tweaked the deal in favour of the UK-based helicopter maker.
Congress sources said they expect the BJP to bring up the AgustaWestland issue to “divert attention from hardships facing people due to demonetisation,” amid a massive cash crunch that continues.
The opposition on its part is expected to demand the resignation of Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, who it has accused of facilitating a 450-crore scam in a big hydro-electric project in his home state Arunachal Pradesh. Mr Rijiju has denied the charges.
The winter session, which began on November 16, will conclude on Friday, and has so far been washed out by continuous disruption by the opposition over PM Modi’s ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes aimed at bringing back black or unaccounted money into the system, curb fake currency circulation and deter terror financing.
A discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the first day of the session could not resume. Both sides have accused the other of running away from debate. On Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley urged the opposition to stop sloganeering and “contribute constructively” to Parliament proceedings.
“The Prime Minister has brought honest people on the streets while the rich and the corrupt are taking money through the backdoor of banks,” alleged Rahul Gandhi at a wholesale market yesterday, signalling a fierce attack in parliament.
The government has said it has the firm support of people in its battle against corruption. PM Modi has assured citizens that the massive cash crunch caused by the notes ban will ease within 50 days of his sudden announcement of November 8.