Opposition paralyses Parliament over demonetisation deaths

A united opposition today forced four adjournments in the Rajya Sabha in the pre-noon session, asserting that no discussion on demonetisation would take place till the House mourns the nearly 70 deaths caused by hardships due to the withdrawal of higher denomination currency notes.

While the Congress, BSP, TMC and CPI(M) among others wanted a resolution condoling the deaths to come from the Chair, Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley charged the opposition with of running away from the demonetisation debate.

The Lok Sabha meanwhile was adjourned till 2 pm after opposition parties continued protests over the demonetisation issue.

This came after railway minister Suresh Prabhu made a statement in the lower house about the Indore-Patna Express derailment, in which at least 142 people have been killed.

In the Rajya Sabha, slogan-shouting opposition members rushed into the well of the house, forcing deputy chairman P J Kurien to first adjourn the proceedings till 11:30 am and then again till noon, and further till 2 pm.

No sooner had the House condoled the death of 130 persons in the derailment of Indore-Patna Express near Kanpur on Sunday than Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said an obituary reference condoling the death of 70 people due to hardships caused by the demonetisation should be moved by the Chair.

He was supported by Mayawati (BSP) who said people have died standing in queues because of hunger, want of medicines and waiting for currency for marriage.

Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad (Cong) said while condolences have been expressed for those killed in the train accident, the same should be done for the 70 people who have lost their lives in demonetisation-related incidents in last 15 days.

"They are also citizens of this country. We want such an obituary reference to come from the Chair," he said, adding that Prime Minister Narenda Modi should also come to the house for the debate.

Kurien however virtually ruled it out saying "condolences are not done on demand. That has to come spontaneously. You can approach the Chairman (on that)".

To this, Yechury said, "Take consensus of the house". At this point, opposition Congress, BSP and TMC members rushed into the well shouting slogans.

TMC members carried placards with "Financial Emergency" written on them.