The demonetisation debate did not continue in the RajyaSabha today amid constant slogan shouting by opposition lawmakers, but in an exchange before the house was adjourned for the day, senior minister Venkaiah Naidu severely censured Congress' GhulamNabi Azad for comparing the impact of the notes ban with militant attacks.
Attempting to draw attention to hardships being faced by people due to a severe cash crunch after last week's currency ban, Azad said, "Lot of people have died because of demonetisation. The count has gone up to 40. Even half this number of people were not killed in Uri because of terrorism. Twice the number of deaths due to the Uri attacks have now died because of the government's wrong policy. (sic)"
Naidu said Mr Azad's comments were "atrocious" asking how he could compare the situation with terrorism. "You cannot compare this with Pakistan.
He (Azad) said that the number of people who died are worse than terrorist killing…You are giving a certificate to Pakistan," he said, amid more ruckus as ruling party lawmakers protested.
"I am only telling you numbers," said Azad, but there were few takers for the clarification in the government benches.
The RajyaSabha began a debate on the government's radical decision to withdraw 500 and 1000 rupee notes to combat the menace of black or untaxed money yesterday, the first day of the winter session of parliament.
The debate was to have continued today, but the opposition held up proceedings demanding that Prime Minister NarendraModi be present in the upper house and also answer their questions.
The government has been equally adamant that it will not give in to that demand. Finance Minister ArunJaitley will reply to the debate in the RajyaSabha.
Opposition parties have criticised the manner in which the notes ban was implemented causing problems for common people who have had to queue up for hours at banks for new notes, which are in short supply.
The government has said it was done in national interest and that the problems of the people will ease soon. No honest taxpayer will lose a single rupee, while those with unaccounted wealth will suffer, as will terror organisations that have been choked by the currency ban, the government has said. (Agencies)