Rahul Gandhi claimed a few days back that he is not being allowed to speak in the Lok Sabha on the subject of demonetization because if he speaks, there would be a ‘quake’ and Modi would have no place to hide. Now Modi is saying that he is speaking on the subject in ‘Jan-Sabhas’ because he is not allowed to speak in the Parliament and promises that when he is able to speak, he will shake the foundations of the opposition. In between, the public is denied enlightenment on several aspects of this issue which has been a major concern for everyone for last five weeks.
When Rajya Sabha discussed this issue on the 16th Nov a few things had become clearer and there was an expectation that more clarity would obtain when the discussion resumed on 17th, but the opposition refused to resume discussion on the ground that PM was not there to listen to them and reply. It is difficult to understand the logic of this demand because if finally only the FM replied to the debate, they could say that they were not satisfied with his reply and PM must come and clarify. Instead, they have only disrupted the proceedings on different pretexts, even when Modi was present in the House, denying the public the opportunity to understand the pros and cons and to make up its mind.
In Lok Sabha, when the issue came up on 17th Nov, the Congress insisted that the subject be discussed under Rule 56 and when this demand was not accepted, they derailed the proceedings of the house. It is clear enough from what some of their senior leaders have said that they expected to show, through voting under Rule 56, that some members of the NDA are also not in favour of de-monetisation. The question is whether causing a little political discomfort to the govt was more important to the Congress than a good discussion of the issue, which would have benefited the public and helped to shape informed opinion.
The pleas of some other parties to let the discussions take place – under any Rule – and the offer of the Speaker to allow discussion without any Rule were also spurned and most of the time, Congress MPs were only heard making noises to stall the proceedings of the House.. Modi can rightly claim that he was denied opportunity to speak when he was present in the House and (presumably) wanted to speak on the subject!
On the last day, Rahul Gandhi wanted to speak under a special dispensation and when this was denied, the Congress and its allies went back to disrupting tactics. Again, one wonders why Rahul Gandhi did not deliver his earth-shaking speech (which, he said, was ready with him) all these days when so many opportunities were available to him.
That demonetization has caused a good deal of pain to the entire population is undeniable and has been acknowledged by Modi also. So, why our Right Honorable MPs can’t discuss ways of alleviating this pain is beyond understanding. It has also become amply clear that crooks are employing all kinds of stratagem to save there ill-gotten wealth. The MPs could also advise govt on how to deal with the crooks and cooperate, instead of merely bickering on side-issues unless their real concern is only to demonize Modi anyhow and nothing to do with public welfare.
By Premdhar Malaviya