The Congress criticised the government today for curtailing the Monsoon Session of Parliament, saying a government that does not allow elected representatives from the opposition parties to raise issues of public importance is not good for the country and democracy.
Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said the Opposition was not allowed to speak on issues like price rise, rising fuel prices, farmers’ agitation and the repeal of farm laws that concern the people of the country.
He said the Opposition from day one wanted a discussion on these issues but the government, which should have fulfilled its responsibility of ensuring that Parliament runs smoothly, acted on its own “whims and fancies”.
“It is not the task of the government to say who is right or wrong… or what demands are right or wrong. Such a government that focuses on its whims and fancies is not good for the country and is dangerous for democracy,” the Congress leader told reporters.
He also accused the government of creating a new record in passing bills in Lok Sabha within minutes, without any discussion.
“First, we were told the House will run till August 13 but the government today suddenly decided ‘no need to run the house further’ and the House was suddenly adjourned,” he said.
Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, bringing an end to the stormy Monsoon Session two days ahead of the scheduled date of August 13.
Opposition protests over the Pegasus snooping row, farm laws and other issues had continuously marred the proceedings since the start of the session on July 19.
Mr Chowdhury claimed the government and the ruling party did not miss any opportunity to complain against the Opposition to show it in a bad light and “deflect the truth”.
“We sought discussions on COVID-19, unbridled price rise, fuel price rise, farmers issues. We wanted the repeal of farm laws and when the Pegasus issue came up, we repeatedly tried to tell the government the issue is not small. It has put a question mark on national security.
“Government should discuss the steps taken in respect of snooping allegations. The government kept escaping a discussion and till the end did not allow a debate on Pegasus,” he said.
The Congress leader said, “Israel is probing the issue, France is investigating and Hungary and Germany are reacting.”
He said opposition leaders, activists and the judiciary have been potentially targeted by the Pegasus spyware and the issue affects every Indian.
“We wanted a discussion on this issue. This was a genuine demand because the government gives separate statements in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The Ministry of Defence, External Affairs and IT give variant statements. People can’t understand the issue,” he claimed.
He also alleged that the government made no attempt to resolve the Pegasus issue by inviting opposition parties for discussions, he alleged.
He also lamented that the Prime Minister was seen for the “first time” in Parliament during the session on Wednesday.
“This means that this government has no interest in running Parliament effectively. The government’s interest is to run Parliament in its own way and pass all legislation and Bills quickly, as it got them passed without any discussion.
“We have seen that every Bill is passed within five to seven minutes and the government has created a new record on this front,” he alleged.
Mr Chowdhury said that Parliament runs for the “Opposition’s sentiments”, and ensuring its smooth functioning is the responsibility of the government.
“Our job is to highlight people’s concerns and problems of common people in the country. We tried our very best to perform this role and duty,” he said.
Asserting that they are public representatives and have a responsibility towards the common people, he said, “We have our demands and the government should have given us an opportunity to air our views.”
“It is the job of the government to allow the Parliament to function and fulfill its responsibility,” he noted.
The Congress leader also alleged that the Opposition was not shown on the Lok Sabha TV, of which they also were equal stakeholders.
He said that the Opposition knows its responsibility and extended its support to the OBC reservation Bill in Lok Sabha unconditionally. He also asserted that when Parliament is in session, the government should speak everything inside the House and not outside.