NEW DELHI: Sessions in both Houses of the Parliament were adjourned on Monday. There was an uproar, with the Opposition demanding discussion on the Pegasus snooping controversy in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. They also demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe. The government said it tried to reach out to the Opposition to end the logjam in the Houses.
Lok Sabha passed two bills Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2021 without any discussion amidst the pandemonium. The Rajya Sabha took up the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, 2021, but the House saw repeated adjournments.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge held a meeting of floor leaders of the Opposition parties and it was agreed that they will seek discussion on Pegasus. He moved a notice under Rule 267 to adjourn other business and have a discussion on the snooping, spying and surveillance scandal, saying that this has undermined democratic and Constitutional rights. His notice for a judicial probe, was, however, rejected by the Chair.
Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said members were prevented from raising issues of public importance. “We are becoming helpless day by day,” he said before adjourning the proceedings till 12 noon.
Soon after the house paid tributes to Kargil martyrs and congratulated Mirabai Chanu for winning a silver medal in the Olympics, slogan-shouting Opposition members trooped into the well of the House. Amid the din, Naidu said he has not allowed notices under Rule 267 from Opposition leaders including Kharge and KC Venugopal (both Congress), Tiruchi Siva (DMK), TMC’s Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Elamaram Kareen (CPI) and others as the issues they want to raise are being discussed in the normal course of time.
Piyush Goyal, Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha, said the government has reached out to the Opposition, but there was no consensus among these parties. Parliament Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi also claimed that he had reached out to the Leader of Opposition.
In Lok Sabha, the two bills were passed without discussions as Opposition members raised slogans and held placards on the Pegasus snooping row and the farmers’ issue. Congress MPs protested in the well of the house and Rahul Gandhi on the aisle with senior leaders Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari. They raised slogans on Pegasus and demanded Home Minister Shah’s resignation. Subsequently, they were joined by MPs of other Opposition parties. When the Lok Sabha was paying tribute to Kargil martyrs, Congress leader Tewari asked why Prime Minister Modi was not seen in the house.