Opposition keen to keep pressure on govt. over Pegasus snooping row

Opposition members protest in the Rajya Sabha on July 22, 2021. Photo: RSTV via PTI  

The second week of the monsoon session of Parliament could once again start on a stormy note on Monday as a section of the Opposition is keen to keep the pressure on the government over the Pegasus snooping controversy.

The Lok Sabha strategy group of the Congress virtually met on Sunday to discuss the week ahead, said a source.

Senior Congress leaders indicated that the session could be their “2G moment,” referring to the washout of the winter session of Parliament in 2010 by the BJP-led Opposition over allegations of corruption in allocation of 2G spectrum.

A final decision on a joint Opposition strategy, however, is likely to be taken on Monday morning after Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge discusses the issue with other floor leaders.

“Our demand for a judicial inquiry still exists as the government statement on the Pegasus issue didn’t have anything. Kharge ji will meet leaders tomorrow morning,” Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury told The Hindu.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, whose phone was among the 300 Indian numbers that were potential targets for hacking, also reflected the party’s stand with his tweet that “the government was helping its friends and spying the opponents.”

On Friday, speaking to reporters, Mr. Gandhi said, “Pegasus is classified by the Israeli State as a weapon and that weapon is supposed to be used against terrorists. The Prime Minister and the Home Minister have used this weapon against the Indian State.”

While Congress leaders are keen to “corner” the government over allegations of snooping using Pegasus spyware, there is also a view among some parties that there should not be continued disruptions.

For debate

They argue that there should be a structured debate around “issues” such as fuel price hike, farm laws, pace of vaccination and preparedness for the COVID-19 third wave among others.

So far, the first week of the monsoon session has seen only one discussion on COVID-19 in the Rajya Sabha and a statement by Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in the Lok Sabha.

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 1:58:18 AM |

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