Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday attacked the Congress, accusing it of not allowing the monsoon session of parliament to function, and asked BJP MPs to “expose the party before the public and the media”. The session has been marked by protests from the opposition and demands for discussions on the Pegasus phone-hacking row, the farm laws and other issues.
Addressing a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary party, he accused the Congress of deliberately spurning attempts at resolving an impasse that has seen little, if any, work in this session.
The Prime Minister pointed to the Congress’ boycott of last week’s all-party meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in the country, and said the party had also prevented others from attending.
The Prime Minister – who was forced to cut short his speech due to slogan-shouting opposition leaders when he rose to introduce new ministers on July 19 – asked his party MPs to “expose this behaviour of the Congress and some opposition parties in front of the media and the public”.
PM Modi has taken aim at the Congress several times over the past week. Earlier, during a smaller meeting of BJP MPs, he called its actions “irresponsible and unfortunate“.
No business has been conducted in parliament this session since the Pegasus row erupted July 18.
Yesterday the government reached out to the opposition to end the deadlock, amid new demands from the opposition that Home Minister Amit Shah resign and the Prime Minister be investigated.
This morning the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for an hour at 11.24 after yet more opposition protests over Pegasus and the farm laws. This was after CPM MP Elaram Kareem and Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil gave a ‘suspension of business’ notice to discuss Pegasus.
On Monday the Rajya Sabha was adjourned five times, according to news agency ANI.
Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi gave a ‘suspension of business’ notice in the Lok Sabha to discuss the Assam-Mizoram border clashes. MP Manicka Tagore gave an adjournment motion notice demanding a discussion in the presence of the Prime Minister or Amit Shah on the Pegasus row.
It has been adjourned till noon. On Monday it was adjourned three times, ANI said.
Proceedings in both houses have been disturbed by opposition protests, leading to chaotic scenes – including a Trinamool MP snatching papers from the hands of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw as he was giving a statement on the Pegasus scandal – and repeated adjournments.
The Congress has insisted the government is to blame for the non-functioning of parliament, as it is not agreeing to opposition parties’ “united” demand for a discussion on the Pegasus issue.
Several opposition parties have called for a Supreme Court-monitored probe into the hacking allegations – something the government has refused, insisting surveillance of the alleged kind was impossible given existing checks and balances within the country’s legal framework.
The Bengal government, however, has set up the country’s first judicial commission to probe the Pegasus hacking allegations, with two retired judges given six months to submit a report.
Yesterday the focus was on Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, as he drove a tractor to parliament to underline widespread protests against the centre’s controversial farm laws.
Last week, on the first day of the monsoon session (and a day after Pegasus broke) the Prime Minister called on the opposition to “ask tough questions, but allow the government to reply“.
With input from ANI