New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to be present in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow, sources said, as the government attempts to find a truce with a united opposition which has disrupted both houses of parliament since the winter session began last week.
Thursday is the Prime Minister’s day to attend the Rajya Sabha. He had not attended the upper house last Thursday amid the opposition’s demand that he explain the government’s ban on 500 and 1000 rupee notes by intervening in a debate in the upper house.
The government has so far rejected that demand, insisting that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will reply to the debate. But, sources said, the government is now reaching out to the opposition to find a meeting point.
Senior BJP leaders will meet leaders from all parties tomorrow. The government has important bills lined up to be passed in the winter session, which ends on December 18, including two bills related to its mega reform Goods and Services Tax that it must pass in this session to meet an April 2017 deadline to implement it. To pass these bills it needs the support of opposition parties, especially in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority.
Opposition parties have protested in Parliament and outside demanding that the PM address Parliament on the notes ban and its impact on people who have had to line up for days at banks for money amid a cash crunch after the demonetization. He was in the Lok Sabha today and the government said it was ready for a discussion, but opposition parties continued to disrupt proceedings.
The deadlock continues as the government has also refused to debate the notes ban with a vote at the end of the discussion in the Lok Sabha.
“The opposition is demanding that the PM come to the house, he came. Why are they not allowing the house to function?” asked senior minister Venkaiah Naidu, stating that the BJP’s “excellent” performance in by-elections yesterday showed that “citizens are happy with this revolutionary step.”
The BJP, Mr Naidu said, “represents the poor of this country and we protected their interest,” with the notes ban, aimed at combating corruption, black money and money laundering.
About 200 opposition lawmakers led by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi stood in a single line protest against the impact of the notes ban today and they plan protests across the country on Monday.