NEW DELHI: The Opposition’s demand for discussion on the Pegasus spyware controversy continued to stall Parliament on Tesday, with repeated adjournments in both Houses. Seven Opposition parties wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind to direct the Centre to take up discussions on this and the farmers’ issue.
Leaders of Opposition parties in both Houses held separate meetings to devise strategy to push for their demands. The government maintained that it is ready for talks, but the Opposition is not cooperating.
Lok Sabha was adjourned 10 times and Rajya Sabha five times. Opposition parties reiterated they want the Parliament to function and want an objective discussion on Pegasus, farm laws and other issues. “The government is not ready for discussion. We want a Supreme Court monitored committee to look into reports of use of Pegasus by the Centre so that the truth is known to everyone. When countries like France, Israel, Hungary and Germany are investigating the matter, why is our government not ready for it?” questioned Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
Seven Opposition parties — SAD, NCP, CPI(M), BSP, JKNC, CPI, RLD — have sought the President’s intervention to uphold the dignity of the Constitution of India and parliamentary rules and procedures.
In Rajya Sabha, the Centre pushed through the Marine Aids to Navigation Bill, with Opposition MPs in the well of the House. Calls for voting from CPI(M) MP Elamaram Kareem went unheard, as the bill was passed by voice vote.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked BJP MPs to be combative against the Opposition for disrupting the Parliament. He addressed the BJP’s weekly Parliamentary party meeting and asserted that despite the government’s readiness for discussions, Opposition parties were disrupting proceedings.
The BJP MPs carried forward the message to the House and the Parliamentary standing committee on IT, which they boycotted on the grounds that the chairman Shashi Tharoor was deciding the agenda without consulting the members, while also complaining to the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla against the Congress leader.
Presiding officers in Lok Sabha sought to push the day’s business amidst relentless sloganeering by Opposition MPs. In the Parliamentary party meeting, the Prime Minister also asked BJP MPs to brace for the 75th Independence Day celebrations by spending 75 days in 75 villages in their respective Parliamentary constituencies.
Senior scribes move SC for Pegasus probe
New Delhi: Veteran journalists N Ram and Sashi Kumar have moved the Supreme Court seeking an independent probe by a sitting or retired judge into reports of alleged snooping by government agencies by using Israeli spyware Pegasus. The petition sought to probe if hacking into the phones represented an attempt by agencies and organisations to muzzle and chill the exercise of free speech and expression of dissent.