Accusations and chairs fly as scuffle breaks out at Aaj Tak show on demonetisation in Varanasi

The debate featured a clash of political representatives of all the major parties contesting the forthcoming UP elections.
Accusations and chairs fly as scuffle breaks out at Aaj Tak show on demonetisation in Varanasi
Accusations and chairs fly as scuffle breaks out at Aaj Tak show on demonetisation in Varanasi
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The demonetisation debate is exciting high emotion around the country. On Tuesday, at a special episode of the talk show “Halla Bol” organised by Aaj Tak in Varanasi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency – tensions hit a high pitch, as the debate ended in a scuffle with chairs being thrown around.

The debate programme featured a clash of the major UP party representatives. While the Bharatiya Janata Party was represented by their spokesperson Sambit Patra, Nadeem Javed, Rajkumar Jaiswal and Pramod Agrahari were present on behalf of the Indian National Congress (INC), the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) respectively.

Even before the show began, many in the audience were heard raising slogans, causing a din and uproar, that made it difficult to hear the questions being asked of the political representatives gathered at the venue.

Patra was heard comparing the demonetisation process to the mythical churning of the sea that first produced poison, before the gods could lay their hands on amruth (the elixir of life).

The majority of the questions were focused on the Centre’s unpreparedness in dealing with a post-demonetisation scenario, as well as the stalling of the winter session of Parliament by the Opposition, thereby curtailing any sensible debate or solutions to the issue.

Some members of the audience, while expressing their support for the Centre’s move, wanted to know why the Union Government kept changing their decisions with regard to the time-frame and the financial limit initially decided upon for depositing old demonetised notes.

The BJP spokesperson insisted that it was to keep the surprise element intact that the Centre was forced to reveal its decisions in a piecemeal manner. This was to ensure that no black money could be converted to legal currency through legal loopholes available in the present scenario.

Congress leader Nadeem Javed accused the Prime Minister of being absent from both Houses of Parliament to avoid answering the numerous questions hurled by the opposition parties. Samajwadi Party leader Rajkumar Jaiswal demanded the ruling party explain the deaths of over 200 people who lost or took their own lives unable to access money to conduct weddings or other important ceremonies in the family.

Pramod Agrahari of the Bahujan Samj party wanted to know why, even a month after demonetisation was announced, the poor continue to stand in long queues in front of banks and ATMs, and are still unable to lay their hands on some ready cash.

As the show progressed, some members of the audience could be seen becoming increasingly more agitated, until the event ended in a commotion with chairs being hurled and many in the audience fled the venue to avoid being hurt in the ensuing melee.

Watch Aaj Tak's report on the melee here: 

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