To Embarrass Government, Opposition Moves 651 Changes to Motion of Thanks
Oppn says govt must accept its claim that note recall was to tackle black money, terrorism has been belied
New Delhi: Thegovernmentislikely to face an embarrassment in the Rajya Sabha when the motion of thanks to the President’s address is passed. Indication to this was available on Thursday, after Opposition MPs moved 651 amendments to the motion of thanks. According to Opposition MPs, they were keen on putting the government on the mat over demonetisation by amending the motion to ‘express regret’ over the President’s address not mentioning the ill-effects of demonetisation. The Opposition has used its numerical majority in the Rajya Sabha to embarrass the government in 2015 and 2016 too on different issues. Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien announced the amendments soon after law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad moved the motion of thanks on the President’s address, which was seconded by BJP member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi in attendance, Kurien asked Opposition MPs — Chhaya Verma & Subbarami Reddy (Congress), Vishambar Nishad, Kiranmoy Nanda, Sukhram Yadav, and Sanjay Seth (SP), Sitaram Yechury and Ritabrata Banerjee (CPM), Derek O’Brien (Trinamool), D Raja (CPI), Vijayasai Reddy (YSRCP), Nazir Ahmed (PDP) and Anil Sahni (JDU) — whether they were keen to move the amendments. All members re-
Vishambhar Nishad (Samajwadi Party)
Chhaya Verma (Congress) Vijayasai Reddy (YSRCP) (CPM)
Sitaram Yechury (CPM)
D Raja (CPI) Ritabrata Banerjee Sanjay Seth (SP) Kiranmoy Nanda (Samajwadi Party)
Subbarami Reddy (Congress)
Derek O’Brien (TMC) Nazir Ahmed (PDP) plied in the affirmative.
Though they did not get an opportunity to explain the amendments, demonetisation is certainly one of the issues that figure high in the a mendment s move d by the Opposition MPs. According to some of them, they plan to zero on one issues, preferably related to demonetisation, and press for voting at the time of passage of the motion of thanks, after the PM’s reply to the debate that started on Thursday.
That the Opposition remained focused on demonetisation was laid bare by leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad. “We can have a Guinness World Record of issuing 135 circulars in 50 days to implement a single policy. So ill-conceived was demonetisation,” Azad said participating in the discussion on the motion of thanks as the PM listened to him intently. The Congress leader asserted that the government’s claim that demonetisation was to tackle black money, terrorism and fake currency had been belied and suggested that the government to accept this. “While a common man could hardly get Rs 2000-4000 through the front door of a bank, crores of rupees were exchanged through the back doors of banks,” Azad said, adding that backdoor operations had given rise to black money right from the outset of remonetisation. “The government must share some blame for this. We want to know how this new black money was generated. This is only the tip of the iceberg,” the leader of Opposition said referring to media reports of huge cache of new currency notes unearthed by agencies from private individuals even as the cash limits were imposed after demonetisation. SP’s Neeraj Sehkhar as well as Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien came down heavily on the government over the issue of demonetization, while AIADMK’s Naveneethkrishnan chose to focus on Tamil Nadu centric issues.