Continuing standoff casts shadow on rest of Winter session


New Delhi: An end to the ongoing impasse in Parliament remains elusive, casting its shadow over the remaining three days of the Winter session which will resume tomorrow after a four-day break amid divergent views of the government and the Opposition on debate on demonetisation.

While the government today again asked the Opposition to start debate on demonetisation, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia said his party wanted the discussion last Friday itself but it was disallowed by the ruling side.

He said leaders of Opposition parties will meet tomorrow morning to decide their Parliament strategy.

Congress sources said the government has made no attempt to reach out to the Opposition to break the logjam.

On the government side, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also hold meeting with key ministers before Parliament convenes tomorrow morning to decide on their strategy.

Both the government and the Opposition, especially Congress and TMC, have stuck to their stand that the debate be held under a Rule that entails voting which the treasury benches have ruled out.

On last Friday, Congress changed its stand and expressed readiness for debate under “no rule”. However, the ruling side created ruckus and the debate could not take place.

Pitching for a debate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today urged the Congress and other opposition parties to “rise above slogans…” as he urged them for a debate in Parliament.

The Winter Session, which began on November 16, is scheduled to conclude on Friday, with indications that it could be a virtual washout.

Parliament has seen little transaction of any substantial business because of the Opposition ruckus over demonetisation and some other issues.

Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha continued to be deadlocked over the way a debate should take place on demonetisation announced by the Prime Minister on November 8.

Ever since the session began, the Lok Sabha has managed to conduct only two legislative actions — passage of Income Tax amendment bill and approval of Supplementary Demand for Grants — that too amid din and without much debate.

The Rajya Sabha has functioned normally only on the first day of the session when the debate on demonetisation was initiated and held for about 5 hours.