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Parliament’s winter session completely washed out due to notebandi

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New Delhi: It was expected to be stormy. Nonetheless no one thought there will be no business during the entire winter session of the Parliament. As the Parliament’s winter session comes to a close tomorrow, the hope of Prime Minister Narendra Modi making clarification on demonetization issue in the Lok Sabha has completely fizzled out.

There have been rumors that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will speak in Parliament for the last several days, nonetheless it has not materialized as yet. And as the session ends tomorrow, all hopes have been dashed.

Even today, on the penultimate day of the session, members of both the opposition and treasury benches indulged in recrimination over demonetisation, corruption and other issues. In the Lok Sabha, the opposition pressed for a debate on demonetisation while the treasury benches demanded a discussion on the AgustaWestland helicopter deal.

Parliament building

Former BJP chief and deputy prime minister LK Advani expressed dismay over the way the session has been washed out. He asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh to convey to Speaker Sumitra Mahajan that she should ensure that the house functions on Friday to discuss the November 8 demonetisation. In the Lok Sabha, both opposition and treasury benches shouted at each other as Speaker Sumitra Mahajan warned the members against displaying newspapers in the house. She then adjourned the house till noon.

The opposition accused the Bharatiya Janata Party members of obstructing the debate.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader A.P. Jithender Reddy said he should be allowed to speak as he had started the discussion on demonetisation under Rule 193. “Every party has a problem with the implementation of demonetisation… I was not allowed to speak,” Reddy said. Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said, “There is one more day left before the end of the session. A discussion could have been initiated, without any rules.”

Parliamentary Affairs Minister H.N. Ananth Kumar raised the issue of the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal and said names of certain Congress leaders are mentioned in middleman Christian Michel’s diary. This further irked the opposition members, leading to more ruckus, following which Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the house for the day. Even after the Lok Sabha was adjourned, Advani remained seated while other members left the house. From the media gallery, Advani was heard telling Rajnath Singh to convey to the Speaker that she should ensure the house runs on Friday to discuss demonetisation.

Advani was then joined by Trinamool Congress MP Idris Ali, who later told reporters that he asked after the former Deputy Prime Minister’s health, to which the latter quipped: “My health is fine but the health of Parliament is not.” “I feel like resigning,” said Advani, his comments audible to those present in the media gallery. Idris then asked Advani about Vajpayee’s health. Advani replied: “He would have been very sad to see this…If the situation is the same on the last day as well, Parliament will be slandered…Such a thing has never happened in the House of Commons… adjourned for no reason. I feel ashamed,” he added.

Meanwhile in the Rajya Sabha, similar acrimonious scenes were witnessed. It was first adjourned till noon amid chaos, minutes after it re-assembled following a four-day break on account of week-end and two holidays. Soon after the house met for the day, the Chair allowed Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad to speak but members from the treasury benches did not let him speak. “This should also go on record that in both the houses, it is the ruling party (BJP) that is not allowing any work,” Azad said, adding that it was happening for the “first time in the history of India”.

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