TMC to continue protest on Pegasus till PM, HM respond
New Delhi: Trinamool Congress will continue its protest in the Parliament till both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union Home Minister Amit Shah respond to the Pegasus spyware controversy.
The decision has been taken by the TMC parliamentary party on Thursday, while the newly appointed general secretary and Lok Sabha member Avishek Banerjee chaired a meeting in the morning of the same day.
The meeting took place at the parliamentary party office, following a lunch in the afternoon at the residence of senior TMC leader and Rajya Sabha member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy at the Mahadev Road.
While addressing the media persons TMC Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien informed that the Chief Whip and other three members of the Upper House submitted notice under Rule 267 to discuss the serious spyware issue.
"Pegasus software is being used to track terrorism and other pressing matters internationally. However, now it is being used for surveillance purposes on opposition leaders, judges, officers and journalists, who are the pillars of the democracy," he mentioned.
According to media reports published so far, the phone numbers of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and election strategist Prashant Kishor figure on the list of numbers allegedly under surveillance by the spyware Pegasus.
"TMC demands a single-line answer from the Indian government that whether it has paid NSO for the spyware! This is not a video game. It is something serious, using international services to spy on specific persons of the country. Hence, both the Prime Minister and the Home Minister have to answer, not the IT minister," O'Brien added.
Union Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has already addressed the Parliament over the snooping issue, however, the opposition party leaders see it as preposterous.
Trinamool also claimed that after the Narendra Modi government came to the power, no proper discussion has taken place under Rule 267, senior TMC Rajya Sabha member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy claimed.
Making a scathing attack on the incumbent BJP-led NDA government, Roy claimed that during 2019 general election used the snooping software to rig the TMC's election strategy and managed 18 Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal.
The party MPs also raised the issue of repealing the farm laws. The TMC parliamentary party appealed to the incumbent government not to allocate any time slot to only discuss but to revoke.
Trinamool chairperson and West Bengal chief minister will be on her visit to the national capital in the next week. She is scheduled to hold a slew of important political meetings with other opposition leaders over various issues.
Banerjee has also confirmed her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will be meeting President Ram Nath Kovind. This will be her first meeting in New Delhi after her stupendous victory in the West Bengal Assembly Elections in May. She retained power for the third time.