Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the fifth consecutive day of the Winter Session on Wednesday after Opposition parties amplified their protest against the Centre’s move to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Leaders from the Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India(Marxist) and Biju Janata Dal, among many others, presented a united front and staged a dharna inside the Parliament complex, reported The Tribune.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, who led the protest, said the leaders want a joint parliamentary committee to investigate the demonetisation “scam”, as well as the allegations that a select few in the Bharatiya Janata Party had been informed of the decision before it was formally announced on November 8. He pointed out that there had been a hike in bank deposits in West Bengal on the eve of the announcement, underlining that a handful of BJP members had been in the know about the move. “BJP organisations knew, as did a few industrialist friends of the prime minister,” Gandhi said.

The Rajya Sabha saw a stormy session, with CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury asking why the government had not announced any compensation for those who had died waiting in queues outside banks and ATMs, and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati reiterating her demand for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be present for a Parliament debate. ‘’More than 75 people have died in queues. [The prime minister] should reply in the House, not outside. This is an insult to Parliament,’’ she said.

The Upper House came to a standstill and was adjourned till Thursday after Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar began to speak. Opposition leaders started to protest and raise slogans as soon as he referred to the prime minister’s visit to Japan.

Moreover, the standoff in the Lok Sabha continued as the government ruled out any probability of voting on the demonetisation debate. While Opposition parties have demanded a discussion under Rule 56, which entails voting, the Centre has maintained that it was out of question, even though they agreed to hold debates on the subject.

The Shiv Sena, however, pulled a U-turn and praised the government for cracking the whip on black money holders. While the party demanded a debate, it asked for it under Rule 193, which only calls for a discussion on a subject. Earlier, it had been openly critical of the demonetisation move and had even joined a TMC-led protest march to meet President Pranab Mukherjee. “The prime minister has assured us there will be relief,” said Shiv Sena MP Anandrao Adsul.

Moreover, Modi did not speak despite being present in the Lok Sabha. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed the adjournment motion notices introduced by Opposition parties for a debate on demonetisation. They then trooped into the Well and raised slogans, forcing Mahajan to adjourn the House for the day.