New Delhi: Both houses of parliament were disrupted Monday as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members noisily demanded that black money stashed abroad be brought back to the country.
In the Rajya Sabha, BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu raised the issue when zero hour began. Criticising the government, he said: “Even the CBI director has raised the issue, which shows the seriousness of the issue. With that money we can solve several problems of the country. But the government has not come forward with any solution.”
CBI director A.P. Singh had said earlier that an estimated $5 billion of illegal money was stashed in foreign banks.
“People are agitating, they are going to march to parliament. People expect government to address the issue,” he said in an apparent reference to yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s march to parliament as part of his campaign against corruption and black money.
The opposition members demanded a response from the government. Deputy Leader of the Opposition Ravishankar Prasad asked the government to give a time limit for bringing back black money from abroad.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni assured the opposition that a discussion would be taken up, adding that the government was taking steps to address the issue.
“When a discussion takes place, we will comment on the time bound steps,” Soni said.
“We brought the white paper on black money, a few days back the finance minister has made an elaborate statement on steps being taken,” she said amid uproar from the opposition.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien also assured the opposition that he had taken note of the issue, and asked them to raise the question of time limit when the discussion takes place.
Dissatisfied opposition members, however, started raising slogans.
Amid the din, the house was first adjourned for 10 minutes, and later till 2 p.m.
The Lok Sabha also lost its question hour to the issue when Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the house after BJP members refused to allow proceedings and rushed towards the speaker’s podium over the issue.
The BJP agitation comes as Ramdev has threatened a “revolution” unless the government brings black money back to the country.
The BJP has not formally endorsed the agitation but former party chief Rajnath Singh has said that the party was “ready to provide support to Ramdev’s campaign against black money stashed abroad if he asks for it”.