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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Govt bid to reach out fails in face of Opposition debate demand

Union minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi met Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in the morning as part of the reachout.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
July 30, 2021 2:48:24 am
Pralhad Joshi speaks in the Lok Sabha. (PTI)

As the logjam in Parliament continued over the Opposition’s demand for a discussion on the Pegasus issue, the government Thursday made an attempt to reach out but failed to resolve the impasse. The Congress signalled once again that it will not settle for anything less than a debate in both the Houses in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah.

Union minister and Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal and Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi met Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in the morning as part of the reachout. Kharge told them that the Opposition has jointly taken a decision on seeking a discussion on the Pegasus row and he cannot commit to anything on his own.

“The ministers came unannounced. It was more symbolic than substantive. They just wanted to show that they were reaching out to the Opposition and making an effort to resolve the impasse,” a senior Congress leader told The Indian Express. “And the bid has clearly failed.”

The floor managers of the Congress in both the Houses met in the evening to take stock of the situation. It was decided that the party will work with other Opposition parties and will not do anything to disturb the unity.

Sources said the Congress will not make the demand for a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the phone hacking scandal as a “precondition” for a discussion. “That demand we can make during the course of the discussion. But we will continue to insist that a discussion should be held and the Home Minister should reply to the debate,” a leader said.

The Congress strongly countered the BJP charge that the Opposition was running away from a discussion. “Who is running? Who is hiding? Who is avoiding? Who is prevaricating, who is fudging on a simple question, it is the government alone. And ‘ulta chor kotwal ko dante’, Having done all of this, they are blaming us,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

The Congress leader said the simple question is whether the government or any of its agencies acquired Pegasus software and used it against any person. “If you did, please disclose their names…Now, this question can only be answered by yes or no and then you can give explanation…instead all sorts of diversionary tactics are being used.”

“We are calling Parliament a temple of democracy for nothing?….You say, we will discuss outside Parliament, not inside Parliament and then to add insult to injury, you blame us that these parties are obstructing Parliament. I am making a proclamation here, you start the discussion in Parliament today, and by tomorrow we will discuss everything else. Why are you avoiding Pegasus?”

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