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Opposition steps up offensive on Pegasus issue; demands discussion

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
July 28, 2021 02:46 IST
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Opposition parties on Tuesday asked the government to call an all-party meeting to resolve the current impasse in Parliament, while sticking to their demands for a discussion on Pegasus snooping issue and a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the matter.


IMAGE: Opposition party leaders and MPs Mallikarjun Kharge, Sanjay Singh. Manoj Jha, Anand Sharma and others address the media outside Parliament House, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photograph: ANI Photo

Sources said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and several other opposition leaders will move separate adjournment notices on Wednesday in Lok Sabha on the Pegasus issue.

Similarly, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and others will move separate adjournment notices in Rajya Sabha, they said.

This was decided at a meeting of opposition parties attended by Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's T R Baalu and Kanimozhi, Nationalist Congress Party's Supriya Sule, Shiv Sena's Arvind Sawant, Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference leader, besides leaders of the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Kerala Congress, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Indian Union Muslim League.

Separately, leaders of seven opposition parties -- the NCP, the BSP, the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the NC, the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India-Marxist -- have written to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking his intervention to direct the government to discuss farmers' issues and Pegasus phone-tapping in Parliament.

Opposition parties have been protesting over the two issues in both the Houses, disrupting proceedings since Parliament met for the Monsoon session on July 19.

After a meeting of leaders of various parties from Rajya Sabha, Kharge alleged that the government was being arrogant and was not responding to the opposition demand for a discussion on the Pegasus snooping issue and a Supreme Court-monitored probe into it.

"This is a dictatorship and the prime minister does not believe in resolving issues democratically," the Congress leader alleged.

"We urge the government to call leaders of all parties for discussion and find a way out to the current deadlock in Parliament. We will continue to fight together," he told reporters.

The opposition parties have also decided to ensure better coordination among them 'to force' the government to agree to their demands, the sources said.

They said Rahul Gandhi will attend another meeting of Opposition leaders of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Wednesday morning to ensure better coordination.

Congress leaders said the entire opposition is united over the issue and alleged that the government was solely responsible for the current stalemate in Parliament by not agreeing to their demand for a discussion on the Pegasus snooping row.

"One thing is very clear, the blame of the deadlock in Parliament lies squarely at the door of the government," Anand Sharma, who is the deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha, said.

Parliament is not convened only for the legislative agenda of the government, he said, adding that Parliament is meant to raise issues of national and public importance, and which concern the citizens of India.

"That's what we are doing," he said, asserting the opposition's demands are fair, correct and within the ambit of rules and established Parliament practice and conventions.

"Government is wrong, they are misleading the country by saying that they are willing to talk to the opposition. They have to accept our demand for a discussion and a Supreme Court-monitored probe.

"We are doing our duty to prevent this government to convert our 'Gantantra', our democracy into a surveillance state, into a police state," Sharma said.

During the meeting of Opposition leaders in Lok Sabha, where Rahul Gandhi was present, it was decided that the separate adjournment notices will be moved to press for discussion, the sources said.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the entire Opposition is united on the issue.

"Parliament isn't a forum to pass government bills without debate and discussion. This is happening because the government is just not ready to discuss urgent public issues like Pegasus and repeal of the black farm laws, despite repeated notices," he said,

Among those present in the meeting of Rajya Sabha leaders were Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Elamaram Kareem (CPI-M), Binoy Viswam (CPI), Sukhendu Sekhar Ray (TMC) and Sanjay Singh (Aam Aadmi Party).

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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