Congress mounts more attack on govt over Pegasus row


Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of not allowing the Parliament to function, the grand old party hit back saying it is not interested in a meaningful debate and it has yet to accept its demand for discussion and Supreme Court monitored probe into alleged Pegasus project issue.

Addressing the media outside Parliament, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjuna Kharge along with several opposition leaders, said, “Yesterday also I said the same thing and today all the opposition members raised the issue of Pegasus and the farmers in Parliament. But the government is not ready to discuss these issues.” Kharge said that the opposition wants issues to be discussed and “a Supreme Court monitored enquiry should be ordered so that the truth comes out”.

He said that in the other countries like France, Israel, Germany and Hungary, a probe has been ordered. “I am surprised why the government is not ready for an enquiry over the same,” he said.

His remarks came after Prime Minister Modi during the BJP’s Parliamentary Party meeting here on Tuesday hit out at the Congress for not allowing Parliament to function properly and causing repeated disruptions in both Houses. Sources said, “The Prime Minister told the party MPs that the Congress party is deliberately disturbing the parliament. They are neither interested in debate nor are allowing the parliament to function smoothly.”

Slamming the government, Congress Rajya Sabha member Anand Sharma said, “The Leader of Opposition and leaders of other parties have spoken. One thing is clear that the deadlock in Parliament is squarely at the door of the government. The Government is not interested in meaningful discussion and debate.”

“This government does not believe in accountability to the people of India through Parliament,” he alleged.

Targeting the government, the Rajya Sabha member said, “Parliament is not convened only for the legislative agenda of government but it is meant to raise issues of national importance. Government is misleading the country by saying that they are ready to talk to the Opposition.”

Sharma said, “Government has to accept our demand for discussion and Supreme Court monitored probe (into ‘Pegasus Project’ report).” He said that we are doing our duty to prevent government from converting democracy into surveillance state. “Government doesn’t want to give answers. We have no option but to continue to agitate,” Sharma added.

The snooping issue triggered a stormy start to the Monsoon Session after a global collaborative investigative project revealed that Israeli company NSO Groups’ Pegasus spyware targeted over 300 mobile phone numbers in India including that of two ministers in the Narendra Modi government, three Opposition leaders, constitutional authority, several journalists and business persons. It snowballed last Tuesday after it came to the fore that in July 2019, phone numbers of Karnataka’s then deputy chief minister G. Parameshwara and the personal secretaries of then chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and former chief minister Siddaramaiah, were selected as possible targets for surveillance.