Modi-Shah ‘hit soul of India’s democracy’: Rahul Gandhi on Pegasus row

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Rahul Gandhi with leaders of Opposition Parties to brief the press at Vijay Chowk Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

Asserting that the “the voice of the Opposition is being suppressed in Parliament,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Wednesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah of tarnishing India’s democracy by “using Pegasus against India, its institutions.”

Speaking to reporters, following a meeting with the floor leaders of Opposition parties,  Gandhi said the Opposition has only one question: whether the government of India had bought Israeli spyware Pegasus to use it as a “weapon against its own people.”

Gandhi questioned why the issue cannot be discussed in the House. He stressed that the Opposition is not disturbing Parliament proceedings by raising the issue but “only fulfilling our responsibility.”

Rahul Gandhi at a press briefing in Vijay Chowk, following a meeting with Opposition leaders. (Express photo by Amit Mehra)

“We are only asking if the government bought Pegasus and snooped upon Indians,” the Congress leader said. He contended that the Pegasus row is “not a matter of privacy”, but of “anti-national work.”

“Narendra Modi, Amit Shah have hit soul of India’s democracy by using Pegasus against India, its institutions,” Gandhi said.

On Tuesday, Gandhi chaired a meeting with several Opposition leaders, who decided to mount pressure over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government over the Pegasus row and give adjournment notices in the Lok Sabha.

Sources in the Opposition camp claimed that the government side had indicated that it was ready for a discussion on any subject, barring the Pegasus revelations. The government’s move to push through two Bills during the din in the Lok Sabha on Monday has also infuriated opposition parties.

The meeting was attended by several big-wigs, including Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the DMK’s T R Baalu and Kanimozhi, the NCP’s Supriya Sule, the Shiv Sena’s Arvind Sawant, the Kerala Congress (M)’s Thomas Chazhikadan, the National Conference’s Hasnain Masoodi, the RSP’s N K Premachandran, the Muslim League’s E T Mohd Basheer and the CPM’s S Venkatesan and AM Ariff.

During the meeting, some of the opposition floor leaders argued that the message that needs to go out to the BJP should be of Opposition unity and there should be no division or misunderstanding among them. One leader, sources said, spoke about the need for a more aggressive disruption of the House, arguing that the government was able to carry out business despite the slogan shouting.

Earlier in the day, the Lok Sabha was adjourned following uproar by the Opposition. The Rajya Sabha, too, saw an adjournment due to sloganeering by Opposition members over the Pegasus snooping row, farm laws and price rise.

— With inputs from PTI, ANI

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