The government is trying to “muzzle” the opposition’s voice, but it will not be cowed down and will keep fighting to raise people’s issues, including farmers’ problems and the Pegasus snooping matter, the Congress said on Thursday.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said that Parliament proceedings are being disrupted over the Pegasus issue as the government is shying away from a discussion on it.
“If attempts are made to crush and muzzle our issues by targeting us, using threats, fear or pressurizing us, the Congress and a united opposition are not going to budge and will keep fighting,” Kharge told reporters here.
His remarks came after a Parliament security officer complained against a Trinamool Congress (TMC) member for creating ruckus in the House Chamber after Rajya Sabha was adjourned.
The opposition is demanding a discussion on the Pegasus issue because it impinges on national security, and citizens’ freedom and privacy. Media, armed forces and judges have been named as potential targets, Kharge claimed.
“Revelations are being made one after the other. Why is the government running away? They are saying the opposition is not ready and therefore, a discussion is not happening,” he said.
Has any notice been received from the government for a discussion or has anyone sought to reach out to the opposition over the Pegasus issue, the Congress leader asked.
Kharge said that the government is saying the opposition does not want to speak on farmers’ problems and inflation, among other issues, but when 10 Bills are passed in one hour “you know well of their (government’s) intentions”.
He also claimed that the BJP caused over 90 per cent disruption when it was in the opposition during the UPA regime.”They are telling us, opposition is not letting the House run and not cooperating,” Kharge said.
On the Pegasus spyware snooping issue, Kharge said the entire world is probing it, including France, Hungary and Bulgaria, but India is not.
“Why are you afraid of discussions,” he said targeting the Centre.
Kharge claimed that in the last 10 years, at least 10 times Rule 267 was used to discuss issues including inflation, foreign direct investment, farmers’ suicide and agrarian crisis, Kashmir, and demonetization.
A notice under Rule 267 calls for setting aside the business of the day to take up discussion on the issue being raised.
The opposition leader said the precedent is there for discussions and yet a debate on the Pegasus issue is not being allowed.
He said no leader from the government has come to speak to the opposition and the informal talks do not mean much. “We suggested (Defence Minister) Rajnath Singh should call a meeting of leaders of both houses,” Kharge said.
He said it is wrong to say that the government has approached the opposition. The opposition has not received any notice, Kharge said.
“It is false propaganda by the government. Pegasus is the most important issue,” he said.
“Parliament was disrupted. But, we acted tolerantly. They don’t have tolerance. The suspension of six TMC members is wrong as they did not do anything wrong. Placards have been used earlier also,” Kharge said, pointing to the suspension of TMC members.
On the action against TMC MPs, he said, “They want to run the House by sending everyone out of the House. There is a conspiracy to disallow discussion on farmers and Pegasus issues. They want to crush the Pegasus issue and wrap up the session.”
Congress member Pratap Singh Bajwa said farmers are sitting on the borders of Delhi and “over 500” have died in the cause, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said nothing about these “martyrs”.
Farmers, mainly from Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at Delhi border points since November against three central agri laws enacted last year.
“What is the job of Parliament. PM Modi has said the laws are for the benefit of farmers but they are not accepting. I had earlier told the PM I will come with him to the border. But repeal the laws if farmers don’t want the laws,” Bajwa said.
Earlier farmers were 50 km away, but now they are sitting at Jantar Mantar and the government must listen to them. It should go to their Kisan Sansad at Jantar Mantar and also repeal the laws, the MP said.
“These laws are death warrants of farmers. The intention is to usurp farmlands and hand them to MNCs. The Congress will never allow this to happen,” Bajwa said.