Opposition insists on Pegasus debate, BJP decries ‘manufactured matters’ | India News


NEW DELHI: As Parliament remained paralysed with the Opposition insisting on a debate on the Pegasus snooping scandal, calling it an issue of “national security and treason” which comes before every other issue, BJP accused them of disrupting proceedings on “manufactured” matters at a time when preventing a possible third Covid wave is the biggest issue before the nation.
Floor leaders of 14 opposition parties in both Houses met under the chairmanship of Mallikarjun Kharge and reiterated their demand. They also stood by Rahul Gandhi in a joint press briefing to send out a signal of unity which the Congress leader said “was not going anywhere”. “Pegasus is about nationalism, about treason. For me, it (snooping) is not an issue of privacy. It is an anti-national act. Modi and Shah attacked the soul of democracy of India. That is why we will not discuss anything before Pegasus.”
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra immediately hit out at the Congress leader. “You (Rahul Gandhi) are saying that a doctored motive (Pegasus) is important for us, not Covid. You are playing with the lives of people. You are suppressing the voices of people,” the BJP leader said.
The Opposition was unfazed about prospect of the session being washed out. Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut said washout of a parliamentary session was nothing new and his party was with BJP when it blocked Parliament, in a reference to the demand for JPC over 2G scam – a point Trinamool Congress had highlighted on Tuesday.
The heightened tempers put a serious cloud over the monsoon session which has in its first week been a non-starter over Pegasus as well as farmers’ protest. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah needed to respond if they ordered Pegasus.
“It’s a weapon which should be used against terrorists and anti-nationals. We ask Modi and Shah why did you use this weapon against the democratic institutions of India. That is the question,” he said.
Reacting to Rahul Gandhi’s claim that a “weapon” has been inserted in his phone, Patra asked why the Congress leader was not filing an FIR. “There is no substance in his claim. Rather, Congress is using a hypothetical issue as a weapon to stall Parliament,” Patra said.
“Anyone who tries to prevent such a debate is striking a blow to the country… It is anti-national to not discuss the issue on the floor of Parliament,” he said.
Patra mocked at claims of opposition unity, saying, “Rahul Gandhi is saying that the opposition is united. A similar picture came out before 2019 Lok sabha polls, but everyone knows the outcome of the alliance. All parties in the alliance think about their own families… their only motive is survival of their own families.”
The BJP spokesperson said Akhilesh Yadav, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra never want a “golden phase” in India. “All of them want their children to be settled in politics whereas our Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to lead India to the path of development,” he said.
TR Baalu, Kanimozhi (DMK), Manoj Jha (RJD), Praful Patel, Supriya Sule (NCP), Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), NK Premachandran (RSP), Binoy Viswam, ET Basheer, Sanjay Singh (AAP), Jairam Ramesh, Anand Sharma, Manickam Tagore (Congress) were among those who attended the meeting. TMC did not attend the deliberations. Jairam Ramesh said it was because TMC MPs were preoccupied with a meeting called by party chief Mamata Banerjee and had informed about it.
While Baalu said “democracy is in peril”, the bloc slammed the government for “malicious propaganda” that opposition was not allowing discussion in Parliament, saying it was the government which was running away from debate on Pegasus.
Rahul said “people will have to understand” that if the opposition agreed to start discussion on any other issue, “Pegasus would be over”.
He said, “I ask the youth, Modi has put a weapon in your telephones. This weapon was used against me, against the Supreme Court, other leaders, journalists, activists, it has been used against India. Why should it not be discussed in Parliament?”
Sena’s Raut said, “We have been stabbed in the back.” Sule said, “They compromised national security, and they did not spare the wife and children of their own ministers. I condemn them.”


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