With just a week to go before parliament’s Monsoon Session ends, Trinamool Congress’s Derek O’Brien demanded today that Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the proceedings and listen to the demands of the opposition, which has been clamouring for a discussion on the Pegasus spyware row, the farmers’ issues and several others. Mr O’Brien tweeted a three-minute video of various opposition parties pushing their in parliament, captioned “Mr Modi come listen to us”.
Three minute VIDEO???? pic.twitter.com/rAnFetlDLH
— Derek O’Brien | ডেরেক ও’ব্রায়েন (@derekobrienmp) August 8, 2021
So far, the Prime Minister has attended parliament once for the opening remarks and to introduce the new ministers. The proceedings were interrupted and PM Modi, irked, said the house should “treat the ministers as introduced”.
The monsoon session had been hobbled since it started on July 19, a day after a global media consortium reported about the illegal use of spyware in several nations.
In India, the spyware could have been used on political leaders, journalists, bureaucrats and court officials, a former election commissioner and others, reported the news portal “The Wire”. Around 300 numbers were found on a list of suspected surveillance targets, “The Wire” reported. Forensic analysis of some of the phones has found traces of hacking, it said.
The government, which has denied any illegal snooping in a statement in parliament, has refused to discuss the matter since.
“You are not allowing the discussion we have been asking for the past 14 days and the discussions we can do later. You are passing that bill now. If you have courage, begin the discussions now,” Congress’s Mallikarjun Kharge is heard saying in the video compilation of opposition speakers in the house.
“This government is unnecessarily snooping on people, bringing in companies like Pegasus and not listening to the people. It is a shame, said Vandana Chavan of Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party.
“Pegasus has reached everyone’s house. We have to discuss on this,” said RJD’s Manoj Jha.
“In Delhi, a Dalit girl has been raped and burnt but the government is not even talking about it,” said Aaam Aadmi Party’s Sushil Kumar Gupta.
Deepender Singh Hooda of the Congress which is also supporting the farmers’ protest, said he would talk about the farmers’ issue if his “microphone is not switched off”.
The CPM accused the government of “stealing” parliamentary democracy. “There should be freedom of speech in parliament,” said Trinamool’s Sukhendu Shekar Roy.
The DMK, too, opposed the government’s handling of the issue, saying, “Let us discuss the quality of democracy”. Most opposition parties have accused the government of running a dictatorship.
Irked by the repeated chaos and adjournments in parliament, the Prime Minister has asked the BJP MPs to target the Congress.
“Parliament is being insulted by the acts of the Opposition in both Houses. The person who snatched the paper and tore it is not repentant of his acts,” he told BJP MPs at a meeting of the party’s parliamentary party. The reference was to Trinamool MP Santanu Sen, who snatched IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s papers, as he was about to make a statement on the Pegasus scandal.