New Delhi: About 200 opposition lawmakers led by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi stood in a single line at the Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex on Wednesday morning to protest against the impact on people of the government’s ban on 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.
“Prime Minister should come here, sit, debate and listen to us. We feel that this demonetisation is a scam and demand a joint parliament committee to look into it,” Rahul Gandhi said, adding “What PM has done is world’s biggest impromptu financial experiment.”
“We are in a line like the nation is,” he said , referring to the long queues at banks and ATMs as people have struggled to get new currency amid a cash crunch after the demonetisation.
J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK, which has supported the BJP-led government on many issues in the past, has joined the other opposition parties in the protest.
BJP ally Shiv Sena has, however, had a change of heart and has now described Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ban on high value notes to combat corruption and black or untaxed money as a “a bold and historic decision.” Last week they had joined a protest led by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Mamata Banerjee is back in Delhi for round 2 of protests on the streets of Delhi. She will hold a dharna at the capital’s site for protests Jantar Mantar today.
A united opposition has disrupted parliament continuously demanding that PM Modi explain the notes ban in the Rajya Sabha. In the Lok Sabha, the opposition wants a debate followed by a vote.
Opposition leaders allege that 70 people have died as a result of waiting in line or other problems caused by the notes ban and say the government must apologise to their families and compensate them with 10 lakh rupees each.
PM Modi told BJP lawmakers on Tuesday that the decision to ban high value was taken “to help the poor.” He urged them to inform the public about the many benefits of the reform, accusing the opposition of “spreading misinformation.”
The government has firmly rejected the demand that PM Modi speak in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority, and has said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will reply to the opposition’s questions.
With little work done in parliament in the winter session so far Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan said on Tuesday, “it pains when elected representatives behave like this.”