Oppn to put Pegasus protest on pause to pass OBC Bill

Opposition to pause Parliament protest on Pegasus to support Bill on OBCs

The leaders felt that any obstruction of its passage would be used by the ruling BJP against them especially as Assembly Elections near

Besides the Congress, leaders of the DMK, TMC, NCP, Shiv Sena, SP, CPM, RJD, AAP, CPI, NC, IUML, LJD, RSP and the KC(M) were present. Credit: Special Arrangement

Opposition parties will pause their protest on the Pegasus issue in Parliament during the passage of the Bill to amend the Constitution to restore powers of states to identify Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

This was decided at a meeting of floor leaders of 15 Opposition parties chaired by Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and attended by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, DMK's T R Baalu, Samajwadi Party's Ramgopal Yadav, NCP's Supriya Sule and Shiv Sena's Sanjay Raut among others.

The move to pause the ongoing protest on the floor of the House came as the government listed the Constitution (127th Amendment) Bill for introduction in Lok Sabha on Monday.

However, the Opposition will continue their protest against the government for not allowing a discussion on Pegasus though the Bill would see its passage without any hitch.

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The leaders who attended the meeting felt that any obstruction of its passage would be used by the ruling BJP against them, especially against the backdrop of Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab among others early next year.

Besides Congress, the parties which attended the meeting included DMK, Trinamool Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, AAP, CPI(M), CPI, National Conference, Muslim League, LJD, RSP and Kerala Congress. Leaders like N Tiruchi Siva, K Premachandran, Manoj K Jha, Jairam Ramesh, Elamaram Kareem, Ninoy Viswam and Bhagwant Mann.

"Leaders of Opposition parties will support this bill and we want this bill being introduced today (Monday) to be passed immediately after a discussion on it. We will peacefully support this bill. This issue is in the interest of backward classes and the country," Kharge told reporters after the meeting.

A senior Opposition Leader said that the Bill aims to give powers to the states and there was no reason to oppose the Bill. "It benefits lakhs and lakhs of people and we should not be seen as obstructing it. However, we are not forfeiting our demand for a discussion on Pegasus," the leader said.

The Parliament has witnessed vociferous protests demanding debate on Pegasus since the Monsoon Session started on July 19 but the government has not budged from its position to not allow the discussion.

In the past 14 sittings in three weeks till last Friday, Lok Sabha has passed 14 Bills in 1:15 hours while Rajya Sabha has passed 12 Bills in 4:29 hours. The Opposition has accused the government of rushing through Bills without proper discussion.