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India

Pegasus Expose, Fuel Prices, Farm Laws Likely Flashpoints as Monsoon Session Begins Today

After the all-party meeting held at the Parliament on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said he looks forward to a productive session where all issues can be debated as well as discussed in a constructive manner.

Parliament building- PTI
Photograph of the Indian Parliament (PTI File Photo)

New Delhi: The Parliament is all set to witness a confrontation between the government and the Opposition over raging issues from Pegusus expose, Covid-19 pandemic, farmers’ protest, fuel prices hike to vaccination strategy as its monsoon session will commence on Monday.

On Sunday night, The Wire in ist series of reports claimed that more than 300 verified mobile phone numbers, including of two serving ministers, over 40 journalists, three opposition leaders and one sitting judge besides scores of business persons and activists in India could have been targeted for hacking through an Israeli spyware– Pegasus, which is sold only to government agencies.

The Monsoon Session of Parliament could see the matter being raised in two houses, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, beginning on Monday. Some opposition leaders are also expected to give notices for adjournment or debate on this issue, says PTI report.

READ MORE: Pegasus Spyware: Phones of Indian Journos, Politicians, Judges, Activists Targeted, Says Media Report

Other hot topics that are on the Opposition’s agenda are fuel prices and handling of the Covid-19 situation in the country as well as the universalisation of Covid-19 vaccinations, which began earlier this year on January 16.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday said they plan to discuss the issues of inflation, poverty and Covid crisis in the house in front of Chairman Venkaiah Naidu who said that an opportunity will be given for discussions. “Around 16-17 issues like inflation, poverty, Covid crisis were kept in front of Venkaiah Naidu in the meeting. He has said that an opportunity will be given to discuss this. But we will get to know about it only when the issues arise,” Kharge had told ANI.

Upping the ante, several opposition parties were planning to move adjournment notices in both Houses on Monday over farmers’ issues.

Opposition parties held a separate meeting after the all-party meet which was attended by 33 parties.

Many opposition parties will give adjournment notices on the farmers’ issue in both Houses, RSP leader N K Premachandran said after the meeting that was attended by leaders of Congress, TMC, NCP, CPI(M), CPI, IUML, RSP, Shiv Sena and AAP.

During the all-party meet, opposition parties objected to government’s offer for a joint address to all MPs by the PM on Covid-19 at the Parliament annexe, saying this will be “highly irregular” at a time when Parliament will be in session and it aims to “bypass” norms.

Leaders, including from TMC and CPI(M), also said when the pandemic and issues related to it can be discussed on the floor of the House, what was the need to go “outside”.

Rajya Sabha press communique stated that President Ram Nath Kovind has summoned the House to meet on July 19 and the session will continue till August 13.

The monsoon session will conclude on August 13. “The sixth session of the 17th Lok Sabha will commence on July 19. Subject to exigencies of government business, the session is likely to conclude on August 13,” a Lok Sabha release said.

This will be the first session of parliament since the results of assembly polls in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

Last year, the monsoon session began in September and the winter session was not held due to the Covid-19 situation.

According to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, during the 19 sittings of the session, 31 Government business items including 29 Bills and 2 financial items will be taken up. Six bills will be brought to replace the ordinances.

Lok Sabha will meet from 11 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm unless directed otherwise by Speaker Om Birla. Four days have been allotted for the transaction of private members business, which is taken up in the post-lunch session.

The Speaker has also allocated days for answering questions by ministers in the rotational order. After the all-party meeting held at the Parliament on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said he looks forward to a productive session where all issues can be debated as well as discussed in a constructive manner.

More than 40 leaders from 33 parties attended the all-party meeting held at the Parliament. The Opposition has geared up to corner the BJP-led NDA government on a range of issues including price rise, increasing cost of diesel and petrol and issues related to tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Om Birla who chaired an all-party meeting at the Parliament Library Building on Sunday, spoke to media persons, and said the House belongs to all the members and he will give all of them ample opportunities, including members from smaller parties and single-member parties, to participate in the proceedings so that more and more issues of public interest can be discussed.

He had added that extensive arrangements have been made as per the COVID protocol for the safety of the members, officials and the media.

The Lok Sabha Speaker also informed that an app is being developed which will be a one-stop solution for all parliamentary matters.

(with inputs from ANI and PTI)