New Delhi: Notwithstanding the government's efforts to break the deadlock in the Parliament over demonetisation, the Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha, Thursday, refused to engage in a debate over the issue and continued to demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi be present in the house before the matter is discussed.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu said that the government is not running away from a debate.
Naidu made it clear that since the matter – demonetisation – comes under the finance ministry, the rule mandates that the finance minister will respond to the debate, and not the Prime Minister.
However, the Congress asserted that the PM will have to participate in the debate for the Parliament to take up the issue.
As soon as the proceedings began in the Rajya Sabha, Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad requested the chair that former PM Manmohan Singh be allowed to speak during the Zero Hour.
The Leader of the House Jaitley said, “Let the opposition resume the debate and let former prime minister Manmohan Singh speak in the debate.”
The Congress then said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be present in the house when former PM Singh speaks. PM Modi is scheduled to attend proceedings in the house later in the day.
“PM should show courtesy and listen to former PM Singh,” Congress leader Anand Sharma said while talking to reporters after the house was adjourned.
The Lok Sabha also witnessed unruly scenes as the Opposition continued to disrupt the house over the issue.
The house was adjourned till 12 noon after Akshay Yadav of the Samajwadi Party tore paper, threw it at Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
The upper house has not conducted any business for the last five days due to Opposition's demand that PM Modi take part in the debate over demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes.
Meanwhile, reports said that the Opposition has made up its mind to not let the house function till November 28, when they will organise a 'Bharat Bandh' to protest demonetisation.