Parliament protests: PM Modi says Opposition insulting democracy, Constitution
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday fired a fresh salvo at the Opposition for not allowing the Parliament to function. During a BJP Parliamentary party meeting, Modi called the Opposition's behavior "an insult" to Parliament, the Constitution, democracy, and the public. Notably, the Opposition's continued protests over the Pegasus snooping scandal have stalled the functioning of Parliament's Monsoon Session. Here are more details.
Parliament insulted by the acts of Opposition: Modi
Referring to Trinamool Congress MP Santanu Sen, who snatched IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw's printed speech on Pegasus, Modi said, "Parliament is being insulted by the acts of the Opposition...The person who snatched the paper and tore it is not repentant of his acts." He also expressed his displeasure at the "derogatory" remarks made by "a senior Opposition MP" regarding the passage of bills.
'Passing bills or making papri chaat?' asked MP Derek O'Brien
Modi likely described as "derogatory" the remarks by TMC MP Derek O'Brien, who had criticized the government for rushing bills through Parliament amid protests. Derek had earlier asked whether the government was "passing bills or making papri chaat?"
Rahul Gandhi hosts Opposition meet; stages 'cycle protest'
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday hosted a breakfast meeting with leaders of over 14 Opposition parties at New Delhi's Constitution Club. After the meeting, Gandhi and other Opposition leaders took a bicycle ride to Parliament to register their protest over rising fuel prices. Earlier, Gandhi had ridden a tractor to Parliament to protest against the three contentious agricultural laws.
Modi earlier asked BJP MPs to expose Opposition over ruckus
Last week, the PM had asked BJP MPs to expose Congress and other Opposition parties before the media and the public for stalling the functioning of Parliament. "Expose this behavior of the Congress and some Opposition parties in front of the media and the public," he had said. The statement came as the productivity of Parliament has been significantly affected due to the impasse.
Why is the Opposition protesting?
The Opposition is mainly protesting over two issues: the Pegasus snooping scandal and the farm laws. The Opposition demands that a discussion should be held in Parliament over the alleged Pegasus surveillance scam, accusing the government of purchasing the Israeli spyware to snoop on journalists, politicians, activists, among others. However, the government is not conceding to the Opposition's demand.
Why is the Centre not discussing the Pegasus issue?
The Centre has refused to hold any discussion on the Pegasus surveillance scandal, calling it a "non-issue." The government maintained that Vaishnaw's statement on the matter was sufficient. The government said it would only discuss people-related issues, implying that Pegasus was not a concern.
Protests impact Parliament's productivity
Due to the continued disruptions, the Monsoon Session of Parliament has not been productive. As of Sunday, the Parliament was able to function for only 18 hours out of the possible 107 hours. Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have functioned for merely 13% and 21% of their scheduled time, respectively. However, the government has been rushing bills through Parliament without careful deliberation.