Pegasus snooping row: Several opposition leaders met today to prepare a strategy.

New Delhi:
A day after the monsoon session of parliament began with adjournments and protests by opposition, high drama continues with the Pegasus snooping row escalating and names of politicians and journalists on the list of potential targets.

Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:

  1. Four opposition parties – the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP and the CPM – gave notices under rule 267 in Rajya Sabha, demanding suspension of the scheduled business of the House to discuss the Pegasus spyware controversy. The adjournments continued on the second day – Lok Sabha has been adjourned till 2 pm and Rajya Sabha till 12 pm. 

  2. At a huddle this morning, the opposition parties decided to raise the controversy all day long. The leaders will meet again at 2 pm to decide if they will attend the meeting on Covid called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 6 pm. 

  3. The snooping row escalated on Monday as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, and new IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw were among the big names revealed as potential targets of Israeli spyware. 

  4. Soon after the big reveal, the Congress made a no-holds-barred attack on the government, demanding Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation and calling for an investigation without any delay. “This is clearly ‘treason’ and total abdication of ‘national security’ by the Modi government, more so when the foreign company could possibly have access to this data,” a party statement read.

  5. Home Minister Amit Shah promptly slammed the opposition, and called it “a report by disrupters for the obstructers”, and said the release of the report was strategically timed to coincide with the start of the monsoon session.

  6. “This is a report by the disrupters for the obstructers. Disrupters are global organisations which do not like India to progress. Obstructers are political players in India who do not want India to progress. People of India are very good at understanding this chronology and connection,” he said, using a phrase that his critics have often used to slam him – “Aap chronology samjhiye (understand the chronology).”

  7. Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee is also on the list of potential targets. The Trinamool Congress staged a protest this morning against the centre at the parliament.

  8. On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, just before the monsoon session started, said the opposition can ask all tough questions but the government should be allowed to reply. Yet, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha saw massive slogan-shouting and protests by opposition leaders. When the Prime Minister was stopped in the middle of introducing his new ministers during the session, he curtly said: “Please treat them as introduced.” 

  9. With Pegasus vendor NSO saying it only supplies the software to “vetted governments”, the opposition parties have demanded an explanation from the Prime Minister. Shortly before Ashwini Vaishnaw’s name was revealed on Monday on the list of potential targets, the new IT Minister quoted the NSO service in parliament: “Such services are openly available to anyone, anywhere, and anytime, and are commonly used by governmental agencies.”

  10. The government’s handling of second Covid wave has been another issue the opposition has been raising after the country saw healthcare infrastructure buckling under the pressure of caseload in April and May.


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