Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said that more people died due to demonetisation scheme by government than that in terrorist attacks by Pakistan. This lead to heated exchange of arguments between treasury and opposition benches as BJP took objection to the leader’s remark. Azad said that 40 people had died following government’s decision on demonetisation. Even lesser number of people had died in firing by Pakistani terrorists in Uri, he said. Terming the remarks as “anti-national”, IB Minister Venkaiah Naidu demanded an apology from the entire Congress party. Naidu also asked Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to expunge the statement. “Don’t fall in the trap of BJP. This (protest in the Well) is directly associating you (AIADMK) with BJP,” Azad said, as treasury bench members objected. “Who should be punished” for the death of these 40 people due to “wrong policy” on demonetisation, Azad asked and added that “millions of people are troubled. BJP and Government is responsible.”
Azad’s reference to Pakistan drew massive objection from the treasury benches. “It is an anti-national statement. Pakistan will use this statement. You want to give a certificate to Pakistan,” Naidu said, and asked that “entire (Congress) party should apologise” as it was a very “atrocious statement”.
To this, Azad said he was only referring to the number of people who had died due to the government’s decision on demonetisation. Azad also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his sudden visit to Lahore to attend the marriage ceremony of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s kin in December last year, he said: “We face Pakistan’s fire round the clock. You attend their weddings.” Kurien tried to continue the debate on demonetisation, but adjourned the House for the day after his repeated attempts failed.