RAVISH TIWARI: Who do you suppose is liable for the washout of the Monsoon Session of Parliament?
Our agenda was to lift points. Not simply the Congress get together, not less than 15 opposition events had selected the priorities for the Session to save lots of our elementary rights, freedom of expression and speech… No one was spared from the Pegasus spy ware — the Army, press, Opposition… We had determined to lift 4 points: Pegasus, farm legal guidelines, Covid-19, and inflation, together with costs of petrol and diesel… We gave many notices on these points however all of them had been rejected. When we had been elevating the Pegasus difficulty, and stating that it was a violation of fundamental elementary rights, it was known as disruption. They (the federal government) stated they don’t agree with the costs, however didn’t clarify why. Rajnath Singh known as me to say that he was going to Tajikistan, after which one thing must be executed about it (Pegasus). Then, (Union ministers) Piyush Goyal and Pralhad Joshi got here to fulfill me. I advised them that we had been having a gathering of opposition events, after which we’d inform them our choice. They left… Then they spoke to some opposition leaders within the Hall, some inside Parliament… It doesn’t work like that. It is the accountability of the federal government to make sure the functioning of the House. They didn’t do it.
We had additionally demanded that each the Prime Minister and the Home Minister be current throughout the Pegasus dialogue as a result of they’re liable for inner and exterior safety. The IT Department is simply the facilitator. If they’re advised to faucet Kharge saab’s cellphone, they may do it. But who offers the directions? Who is accountable? That is why we wished a dialogue on it, in order that the nation additionally will get solutions…
… If we’re alive, solely then can we talk about different issues. If we now have a voice, then we are able to communicate for others. If we don’t have a voice, then there will likely be no farmer difficulty, no inflation, no price-rise, neither Covid. The one talking up ought to have the ability.
RAVISH TIWARI: Did the federal government inform you why it didn’t wish to talk about the Pegasus difficulty?
If they talk about Pegasus, their actuality will likely be unmasked. We had sought a Supreme Court-monitored SIT to probe to make sure that there is no such thing as a strain. It wouldn’t have been attainable with the CBI or Enforcement Directorate (probing). That is why they (the federal government) obtained scared and stalled the talk. Then they introduced up the Covid difficulty, and because it was of nationwide significance, we participated within the dialogue within the Rajya Sabha. But then we raised Pegasus once more. Nearly 15-16 days had been wasted on this. If we obtained four-six hours at some point, we wouldn’t be right here. Parliament would have functioned easily for the remaining 15 days. I’d say the Israeli firm ‘NSO’ stands for ‘Narendra, Shah Overall surveillance’. They had been frightened of a debate.
LIZ MATHEW: In the Lok Sabha, there didn’t appear to be any coordination between opposition events. Also, why weren’t points reminiscent of Pegasus and Bills being handed with out dialogue raised within the Business Advisory Committee?
We had been demanding a dialogue on the Pegasus difficulty by means of Rule 267, which isn’t part of the BAC’s agenda. Rule 267 permits the Chairman to droop all of the rules to debate one difficulty, on this case the Pegasus difficulty. It’s not a brand new factor. When we had been in energy, on August 4, 2010, we had a dialogue on inflation. On December 7, 2012, FDI in retail was mentioned. On April 22, 2013, the problem of farmer suicides was mentioned. After that, even when the (NDA) authorities got here, on December 18, 2014, the problem of assault on the secular cloth of the nation was mentioned. On April 23, 2015, the agrarian disaster was mentioned. On August 10, 2016, they agreed to debate the Kashmir difficulty. On November 16, 2016, we raised demonetisation, they agreed. When they may agree to debate so many points, then why not Pegasus?
As far as (Opposition) unity is worried, we carried out nearly 15-16 conferences in my chamber with all political events. Whatever options they gave, primarily based on that, we determined collectively, and raised these points… But why was the federal government not prepared to debate the Pegasus difficulty? It means they wish to conceal one thing. That’s why all (Opposition) events had been collectively. We addressed a press convention on Day 1 (of the Monsoon Session). Rahul Gandhiji additionally got here twice, thrice in these conferences. We held press conferences at Vijay Chowk, Constitution Club. When there’s a demand for dialogue from all events, why are the Prime Minister and Home Minister lacking from Parliament? They want to clarify because it considerations problems with safety, snooping, privateness.
RAVISH TIWARI: NSO says it sells its spy ware to solely vetted governments. The Defence Ministry has stated that they haven’t been a part of any dealings with the NSO. Its consumers may be state governments, a few of that are Congress-ruled. Have you requested them?
The ‘government’ NSO refers to is ‘the Central government’. It means the Home Minister, the Prime Minister. The Defence Ministry saying that they weren’t conscious of any such expenditure, meaning that also they are not conscious of what’s going on in their very own division. The matter is solely beneath the jurisdiction of the Home Minister and Prime Minister. They have wreaked havoc and it’s a hazard for the nation and democracy.
KRISHN KAUSHIK: Why do you suppose the Chairman didn’t permit a dialogue on Pegasus? Also, the federal government says that if Rahul Gandhi thinks his cellphone has been hacked, why doesn’t he file a police grievance. Have you thought-about it?
Yes, it’s the Chairman’s prerogative to take a call (beneath Rule 267). Nearly 30-40 members gave notices; all rejected. The Chairman ought to have additionally advised the federal government that since there are such a lot of requests, have a dialogue. That didn’t occur. Many instances earlier, the Chairman allowed such issues. Why not this time?… I feel it’s the accountability of the federal government… It is the federal government’s job to maintain the folks of the nation secure. It just isn’t Rahul Gandhi’s job alone. It is everybody’s job. I can ask you too, why have folks within the press not filed FIRs?
RAVISH TIWARI: But can the Congress verify that Pegasus was not utilized by the intelligence departments of the states the place the get together is in energy?
How can I say that? All states have totally different intelligence programs. But that is straight linked to them (the Centre). I can’t level a finger at any state. The names of so many ministers have come up, names of heads of so many establishments have come up, together with the Army Chief, can the state do that?
RAVISH TIWARI: You have been part of the Legislature since 1972. What did you make of the scenes witnessed inside Parliament this time?
This has not occurred for the primary time. What had Sushma Swaraj stated? ‘Disruption is also part of democracy.’ Arun Jaitley would usually discuss methods of retaining democracy alive and in addition supported agitations throughout the democratic framework… They additionally had been a part of disruptions. On January 30, 2011, Arun Jaitley stated, ‘Parliament’s job is to conduct discussions. But many instances Parliament ignores points, and in such conditions, obstruction of Parliament is in favour of democracy…’ That is what we’re doing. If the federal government can’t discover options to the problems that we’re elevating, we’re sending out a message to the nation… In January 2011, Sushma Swaraj stated, and I used to be there, ‘It is the government’s job to run Parliament, not that of the Opposition’. Now inform me, all this data has come from them, what must be executed? What is PM Modi doing? This has come out of your leaders.
MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: Why did it take the get together so lengthy to resolve the disaster within the Punjab Congress?
We hearken to everybody in our get together. It’s not like how issues run beneath Modi-Shah. After listening to everybody, Sonia Gandhi constituted a committee. Harish Rawat, Jai Parkash Agarwal and I had been on the panel. We listened to every MLA for 10-15 minutes, we spoke to ministers… We sat down with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for six hours over two days. Everyone shared their grievances. Then we discovered the loopholes, after which Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi labored on resolving the matter. Finally, Sonia Gandhi assured either side.
Today, the Congress is powerful within the state. We will return to energy.
MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: But there nonetheless appears to be pressure between Navjot Sidhu and Amarinder Singh?
No, there is no such thing as a pressure… Amarinder Singh is a senior chief and he places quite a lot of thought into what he says. Sidhu is an enthusiastic chief and is working in the direction of strengthening the get together. I gives you an instance. During occasions at Central Hall, at any time when L Okay Advani arrived, we’d all move apart to present him area. But Modi saab wouldn’t even have a look at him. He wouldn’t have a look at Murli Manohar Joshi both. There are many such examples. That is why let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill in terms of our points. The individuals who made him (PM Modi), he doesn’t look them within the eye… The difficulty (in Punjab) has been resolved.
LEENA MISRA: There has been no Congress illustration from Gujarat within the Lok Sabha for 2 consecutive phrases now, and your numbers within the Rajya Sabha are additionally dwindling. Where do you suppose the get together goes flawed?
We had the power to elect Rajya Sabha members, however they’re luring, buying or taking away elected members… They make them ministers. Is this the democratic approach?… Our power lies with the folks. We are with them. Tod-phod karne waale BJP ke log hain (It’s the BJP that breaks governments). We obtained a majority in Uttarakhand, they broke that. We obtained a majority in Manipur, they broke that. They broke our majority in Madhya Pradesh. In Gujarat, you took away MLAs to achieve Rajya Sabha seats. The identical was seen in Goa, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh. Such folks wish to give us classes on democracy?
RAVISH TIWARI: You weren’t invited to Kapil Sibal’s dinner with opposition leaders. It appears that you’ve got nonetheless not been capable of resolve points with G-23 that has sought modifications within the get together.
It was a dinner for Kapil Sibal’s birthday and they’d have mentioned what they needed to. I used to be not there, so I can’t provide you with an account of it. But if we talk about our get together’s points earlier than individuals who we’re combating with in Punjab, does it strengthen our get together? So let’s depart it. I didn’t have to go both. It was a private occasion. But individuals who have gotten all the things from the get together should not consider destroying the get together… For the previous yr we now have been coping with Covid. How many of those (G-23) leaders have gone out and helped folks of their area? They raised these points when Madam (Sonia Gandhi) was not nicely. It is inhuman.
HARIKISHAN SHARMA: What will the Congress’s technique be for the Uttar Pradesh elections subsequent yr?
The BJP is in energy in UP, and see the state of affairs there. So many individuals died throughout the second wave of Covid. Dead our bodies had been mendacity on the banks of Ganga. There had been no beds in hospitals, no oxygen… What has the federal government been doing? Dalits are going through atrocities, the Hathras incident occurred… Facts and figures associated to atrocities towards Dalits are being suppressed in UP, identical to Covid deaths. We will combat this. Priyanka Gandhi has been assembly folks. Just as a result of we now have not come to energy within the state for 20-25 years, doesn’t imply we don’t exist there. We will at all times be there.
GOPAL KATESHIYA: Are you glad along with your Monsoon Session technique towards the federal government? How do you propose to tackle the Modi authorities sooner or later?
As far as election technique is worried, it’s remodeled time. There are totally different events concerned, and it’s important to agree on a couple of points. We are engaged on uniting on a couple of points and elevating them. Pegasus, Covid, farm legal guidelines, inflation have been among the points that we raised collectively not too long ago. These will be election points too. The BJP has nothing however muscle energy. They have been utilizing the CBI, ED, CVC to throttle democracy. We will take these points to the folks. Unemployment has been rising. They promised 2 crore jobs yearly to the youth. Where are they? They have been mendacity since coming to energy. They stated they may give Rs 15 lakh to everybody, demonetisation will likely be good and many others… You have made everybody a prisoner, from the press to leaders… But you can’t survive lengthy with this… Our president Sonia Gandhi can also be speaking to everybody. We are engaged on a method. We will take everybody collectively and move ahead.
LIZ MATHEW: What position would the Congress prefer to play? Would you wish to lead the Opposition towards the BJP?
The Congress at all times performs a constructive position, proactive position. In Parliament we took all people with us. All events cooperated. That is why we succeeded in explaining points like Covid and Pegasus to the folks. There is little doubt our get together will come ahead… The Congress will give all constructive assist to construct this (Opposition) unity. Rahul Gandhi is coming ahead and speaking to leaders personally. There is little doubt we may have unity and combat future elections along with the opposite events.
RAVISH TIWARI: We maintain listening to about election strategist Prashant Kishor’s revival plan for the Congress. What is that this plan?
I don’t know what his technique is and what his dialog with the excessive command has been thus far. If somebody needs to assist the get together, and if their service is beneficial, the get together excessive command will resolve on what to do about it.
RAVISH TIWARI: Karnataka has a brand new Chief Minister. What does it say concerning the BJP’s scenario within the state and what does this imply for the 2023 Assembly polls in Karnataka?
The scenario on the bottom is not going to change by altering the CM. The earlier authorities ruined issues and the current (CM) was additionally a part of that Cabinet. They are all a part of the identical gang. The current Chief Minister will likely be depending on the earlier chief. The BJP secretaries sitting right here (in Delhi) will inform them what to do. They did the identical with Yediyurappa. So I’ve no sympathy for both facet. What I’m involved about is that my Karnataka was a progressive state, it had an excellent setting… Earlier, leaders within the state throughout get together strains spoke to at least one one other, now they’re all being watched… No one needs to even share a cup of tea with leaders from different events.
RAVISH TIWARI: What does the poor dealing with of the second wave in April-May inform us concerning the state of the Indian administration?
We ought to have learnt our classes throughout the first wave. But this authorities doesn’t maintain consultations. They had been busy taking credit score for Covaxin and Covishield. During the second wave, they exported vaccines when folks had been dying within the nation. There was scarcity of oxygen… You didn’t pay any heed to the report by the Standing Committee on Health. India has the very best medical doctors, however they weren’t used. Rahul Gandhi spoke to the WHO (World Health Organization), and different consultants, however even his options had been ignored. Then Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and I wrote letters and gave them to the federal government. It is a failure of the management, of the federal government. They deliberately didn’t act on good options. They ignored options from eminent economists. They simply continued with their publicity drive. Now, he’s making an attempt to be Rabindranath Tagore… Earlier, he would change jackets daily… I don’t wish to make private feedback. But he isn’t prepared to just accept the reality. That is why I name it (dealing with of the second wave) full failure of the administration, of the Prime Minister, and so they made the then Health Minister (Harsh Vardhan) a scapegoat… You gave extra Covaxin, extra oxygen to BJP-ruled states… People living in different states are residents too. Don’t suppose the Congress obtained much less votes… The Opposition obtained 60 per cent of the votes…. There is zero sashan (governance), most bhashan (lecture).
RAVISH TIWARI: Does the Congress assist a caste census?
We have stated that we must always establish the poor, who’s educated, who owns how a lot land, home, what enterprise they do, their occupation… To get this data, we want a caste census… The OBC Bill was handed unanimously, however they (the federal government) are taking credit score for it… Bante, bante desh banta hai (The nation develops slowly). If we made a two-lane highway, then this authorities made it four-lane. Is there any level in taking credit score for the complete factor!… Even earlier than leaders of the current BJP had been born, the nation had so much. The IITs, AIIMS, nationwide highways, dams, irrigation initiatives had been all there. So this perspective to take credit score for this stuff is juvenile.
Jawaharlal Nehru was essentially the most democratic man. He revered his opponents. He listened to leaders and responded. Now, the federal government has no time to take a seat and pay attention. He simply walks away. The roots of democracy exist due to Nehru and we now have been taking it ahead. Today, everybody criticises the Congress and Nehru, however earlier than pointing fingers, have a look at those pointed in the direction of your self.