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Govt braces for a rough start to Parliament session on Wednesday

Ahead of the session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met opposition leaders and sought their cooperation in the fight against black money.

PTI | New Delhi |

Government on Tuesday braced itself
for a stormy Winter Session of Parliament beginning on Wednesday with the
opposition presenting a united face in seeking to corner it over the demonetisation
issue calling it a “currency scam” that needs to be probed.

The opposition also has a string of other issues like the surgical strikes
across LoC, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, OROP and the plight of farmers
to rake up during the session that will last a month. A demand for constitution
of a JPC to go into the demonetisation is also on the opposition agenda.

Ahead of the session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met opposition leaders and
sought their cooperation in the fight against black money and corruption for
which, he said, the demonetisation exercise was undertaken.

In his concluding remarks at an all-party meeting on the eve of the Winter
Session, Modi spoke in support of simultaneous Lok Sabha and state assembly
polls. He pitched for state-funding of elections and asked parties to debate
the issue.

The government is willing to discuss all issues and answer the questions raised
by the opposition, Modi said, hoping for a fruitful session as he recalled the
passage of the GST Bill in the last session with the cooperation of all
parties.

“We have launched a crusade against corruption, black money and fake
currency, which is also behind cross-border terrorism. All parties should come
together on this issue of national interest,” he said.

However, an unrelenting opposition decided to step up its fight against the
government during the session. Presenting a united face, arch rivals TMC and
Left parties and SP and BSP, got together at a meeting convened by the main
opposition Congress to formulate a joint strategy.

There were some reservations in the opposition over TMC’s proposal for a march
to Rashtrapati Bhawan on Wednesday to petition the President against
demonetisation.

The majority of the parties did not want to exhaust the option of going to the
President on the very first day of the session and instead wanted to keep it
for a later stage.

An unfazed TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, however,
asserted that she would go ahead with around 40 of her MPs to the President.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad alleged the
decision to invalidate Rs 1000/500 currency notes was leaked in advance to some
people, including BJP leaders, and called it probably the “biggest
scam”.

He, however, added that his party is not for a rollback of the drive.