Breakfast meet, cycle ride to Parliament: Opposition ups ante against Modi govt as Rahul calls for united front

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led a meeting of opposition leaders on Tuesday morning as he called all parties to unite against the Modi government over a range of issues, including the Pegasus snooping row, the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, and farmers’ agitation.
After the meeting, several opposition MPs led by Rahul cycled to the Parliament to highlight the issue of rising fuel prices. This comes barely a week after his surprise tractor ride to the Parliament in protest against the same issue.

“The single motive to invite you is that we should unite. The more this voice unites, the more powerful it will become, the more difficult it will become for the BJP and RSS to suppress this voice,” Rahul said at the meeting. He added, “We should remember the foundation of unity and it is important that now we start to come up with the principles of this foundation.”
Trinamool Congress’s Mahua Moitra, the NCP’s Supriya Sule, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut, and the DMK’s Kanimozhi were among the leaders attending the breakfast meeting. “We are witnessing something special here,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweeted.

“As far as fuel prices are concerned, the people of India are struggling and if we cycle from here to Parliament, it will have an impact,” Rahul said.

Meanwhile, attacking the Opposition over repeated protests in Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while attending the BJP parliamentary meeting, said: “The Opposition is not letting parliament function. This is an insult to democracy and to the public.” The BJP parliamentary party meeting was held around the same time as the Opposition’s breakfast meeting.

Briefing reporters on Modi’s speech at the BJP parliamentary party meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the prime minister expressed anger at the conduct of some opposition members and noted that those who tore papers and threw it around have remained unrepentant, PTI reported.

This shows their arrogance, Modi said and asked his party members to maintain restraint.
While a TMC member in Rajya Sabha had torn the statement of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on the Pegasus issue, several opposition members had torn papers in Lok Sabha and threw it in the air and towards the Chair.

A tweet of TMC leader Derek O’Brien criticising the manner of bills’ passage in Parliament also drew Modi’s ire, Joshi and another Union minister V Muraleedharan told reporters, without naming the TMC member.
He had tweeted, “In the first 10 days, Modi-Shah rushed through and passed 12 Bills at an average time of UNDER SEVEN MINUTES per Bill. Passing legislation or making papri chaat!”

Such comments are “derogatory” to the parliamentary procedure and the esteem of elected representatives, Muraleedharan said quoting Modi.

The conduct of the opposition is an “insult” to Parliament and the Constitution, Joshi said, quoting the prime minister. Modi accused them of having “undemocratic” attitude and said they are not keen on meaningful debates.

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