For all those wondering why Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not shown up in Parliament, the prime minister did come to the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, a good two weeks after announcing the demonetisation of Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes on November 8.
Unlike his usual ebullient, talkative self, he sat grim, silent leading in the treasury benches prompting the opposition to go hammer and tongs at the government for the mess wrought by the demonetisation. The number of people who died standing in queues or on being denied treatment for lack of new notes has steadily crossed 75.
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But all the melee in the House did not get the prime minister to offer an interjection. Why? What’s the big secret behind his silence? The answer is not very difficult. The ruling BJP is very clear that the PM will be caught unaware by questions thrown at him by irate opposition members. Say someone asks him about the impact of the move on the first GDP quarter or on the repo rate, or on the reverse repo for that matter, the PM will look stumped. He doesn’t deal with such concepts and manages the government’s big picture. That’s why Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been adamant that the PM will not speak in the House.
Other rumours doing the rounds say the PM was hesitant to enter Parliament fearing being cornered about the Sahara/Birla corruption charge levelled against him by Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal.
With heavyweight economists occupying Opposition benches in both Houses, the PM didn’t want to show his inadequacy of knowledge on live TV. Unlike the demonetisation announcement which was recorded, the proceedings in Parliament cannot be stage managed. Like the way, his face may fall if someone asks him what will be the percentage fall in employment due to the withdrawal of notes or the hit on the wholesale price index.
Getting sinking feeling that “surgical strike”on black money is turning out to be a hatchet job! Its is likely to boomerang on @narendramodi
— MadhuPurnima Kishwar (@madhukishwar) November 22, 2016