India

Trinamool MP Snatches Pegasus Statement From IT Minister, Tears It

Trinamool MP Snatches Pegasus Statement From IT Minister, Tears It

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice as MPs trooped into the Well of the House holding placards.

New Delhi:

High drama continued in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the third straight day of the monsoon session today as opposition MPs staged protests over a range of issues, including the Pegasus snooping controversy and today's I-T raids on media houses. In the Rajya Sabha, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was forced to cut short his statement on the row by the uproar among opposition members.

As soon as Mr Vaishnaw rose to speak on Pegasus, Trinamool MP Shantanu Sen snatched his papers, tore, and flung them at the Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh. This forced the minister to lay the paper on the table instead.

The Rajya Sabha was later adjourned till tomorrow -- the third time through the day. It was first adjourned first till 12 noon and then till 2 pm after MPs trooped into the Well of the House raising slogans and holding placards. "Members seem to be not interested in discussing people's issues," Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said, adjourning the proceedings in the upper house earlier in the day.

"The attitude of the minister was unfortunate. The way the IT Minister made a statement amidst the uproar, it seems that the government only wanted to make a mockery of this issue," RJD member Manoj Jha said.

Neither did the Lok Sabha have an uninterrupted day. It was adjourned thrice, the last time till 4 pm.

Question Hour barely lasted 12 minutes before Speaker Om Birla adjourned the House till 12 noon. Bhartruhari Mahtab, who took the Chair later, was adjourned it for a second time after protesting members ignored his plea to return to their seats and discuss matters.

While leaders of the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal targeted the government on the contentious farm laws, those of the Trinamool Congress gathered near the Speaker's podium raising the Pegasus snooping issue. They raised slogans and sought answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The protests continued despite Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi saying the government was ready to discuss any topic. "The Rajya Sabha had a discussion on Covid...We are ready for discussion on whatever topic you want...Question Hour is a right of every member," Mr Joshi said according to a PTI report.

The opposition members also tried to raise the matters of today's income-tax raids on Dainik Bhaskar and the alleged snooping scandal involving Pegasus spyware.

As soon as the House assembled, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh tried to raise the issue of the raids. Other opposition members, including those from the Trinamool, rushed into the well over the alleged targeting of political rivals, journalists, and critics for surveillance.

"I have not permitted you. You have to seek permission from me. Nothing shall go on record," Mr Naidu told Mr Singh, calling for the tabling of listed papers. However, only one paper could be laid out before the House was adjourned amid continuing protests.