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Rahul invites Opp leaders to plan strategy on Pegasus row

Tuesday, 03 August 2021 | PNS | New Delhi

Amid the ongoing stalemate in Parliament, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has invited leaders of Opposition parties to a breakfast meeting at the Constitution Club on Tuesday to chalk out a joint strategy on the Pegasus snooping issue. All Opposition MPs and floor leaders of various parties have been invited for the meeting, sources said.

AICC sources added an invite has also been sent to the Trinamool Congress, which has been skipping all meetings convened by Rahul so far. Rahul met with TMC chief Mamata Banerjee when she called on Congress chief Sonia Gandhi last week.

After a meeting with the floor leaders of Opposition parties last week, Rahul said the Opposition has only one question: whether the Government had bought Israeli spyware Pegasus to use it as a “weapon against its own people”.

While the Opposition has been insisting on a full-fledged debate on the Pegasus issue, the Government’s stand has been that it is ready to discuss anything but the tapping scandal.

The meeting is being held to forge unity among the opposition ranks on the issue. Asserting that “the voice of the Opposition is being suppressed in Parliament”, Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah of tarnishing India’s democracy by “using Pegasus against India, its institutions”.

Rahul and other Opposition leaders have questioned why the issue cannot be discussed in Parliament. They have stressed that the Opposition is not disturbing Parliament proceedings by raising the issue but “only fulfilling our responsibility.”

The Supreme Court is also scheduled to take up on August 5 petitions seeking an independent probe into allegations of surveillance using the Pegasus software made by Israeli cyber security firm NSO Group. The petitions have been listed before a bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice Surya Kant. There are three petitions before the court in the matter, one filed by senior journalists N Ram and Shashi Kumar, another by advocate ML Sharma, and a third one by CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas.

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