RAVISH TIWARI: Who do you assume is chargeable for the washout of the Monsoon Session of Parliament?
Our agenda was to boost points. Not simply the Congress occasion, no less than 15 opposition events had selected the priorities for the Session to save lots of our basic rights, freedom of expression and speech… No one was spared from the Pegasus adware — the Army, press, Opposition… We had determined to boost 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 have been rejected. When we have been elevating the Pegasus concern, and mentioning that it was a violation of primary basic rights, it was referred to as disruption. They (the federal government) mentioned they don’t agree with the costs, however didn’t clarify why. Rajnath Singh referred to as me to say that he was going to Tajikistan, after which one thing must be completed about it (Pegasus). Then, (Union ministers) Piyush Goyal and Pralhad Joshi got here to fulfill me. I advised them that we have been having a gathering of opposition events, after which we might inform them our resolution. They left… Then they spoke to some opposition leaders within the Hall, some inside Parliament… It doesn’t work like that. It is the duty 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 chargeable for inner and exterior safety. The IT Department is barely the facilitator. If they’re advised to faucet Kharge saab’s cellphone, they’ll do it. But who provides 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 have now a voice, then we are able to converse for others. If we don’t have a voice, then there will likely be no farmer concern, no inflation, no price-rise, neither Covid. The one talking up ought to have the facility.
RAVISH TIWARI: Did the federal government let you know why it didn’t wish to talk about the Pegasus concern?
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 potential 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 concern, 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 have been wasted on this. If we obtained four-six hours someday, 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 have 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 resembling Pegasus and Bills being handed with out dialogue raised within the Business Advisory Committee?
We have been demanding a dialogue on the Pegasus concern via 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 concern, on this case the Pegasus concern. It’s not a brand new factor. When we have 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 material of the nation was mentioned. On April 23, 2015, the agrarian disaster was mentioned. On August 10, 2016, they agreed to debate the Kashmir concern. 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 anxious, we performed nearly 15-16 conferences in my chamber with all political events. Whatever recommendations they gave, based mostly on that, we determined collectively, and raised these points… But why was the federal government not keen to debate the Pegasus concern? It means they wish to disguise one thing. That’s why all (Opposition) events have 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 issues problems with safety, snooping, privateness.
RAVISH TIWARI: NSO says it sells its adware to solely vetted governments. The Defence Ministry has mentioned that they haven’t been a part of any dealings with the NSO. Its patrons is also 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 underneath 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 assume the Chairman didn’t enable 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 of it?
Yes, it’s the Chairman’s prerogative to take a call (underneath 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 occasions earlier, the Chairman allowed such issues. Why not this time?… I believe it’s the duty of the federal government… It is the federal government’s job to maintain the individuals 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 individuals 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 occasion is in energy?
How can I say that? All states have completely different intelligence techniques. 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 mentioned? ‘Disruption is also part of democracy.’ Arun Jaitley would typically speak about methods of holding democracy alive and likewise supported agitations throughout the democratic framework… They additionally have been a part of disruptions. On January 30, 2011, Arun Jaitley mentioned, ‘Parliament’s job is to conduct discussions. But many occasions 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 mentioned, 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 needs to be completed? What is PM Modi doing? This has come out of your leaders.
MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: Why did it take the occasion so lengthy to resolve the disaster within the Punjab Congress?
We hearken to everybody in our occasion. It’s not like how issues run underneath Modi-Shah. After listening to everybody, Sonia Gandhi constituted a committee. Harish Rawat, Jai Parkash Agarwal and I have 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 numerous thought into what he says. Sidhu is an enthusiastic chief and is working in the direction of strengthening the occasion. I provides you with an instance. During occasions at Central Hall, every time L Okay Advani arrived, we might all move apart to offer him house. 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 relating to our points. The individuals who made him (PM Modi), he doesn’t look them within the eye… The concern (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 assume the occasion 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 individuals. 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 realize Rajya Sabha seats. The identical was seen in Goa, Karnataka, Arunachal Pradesh. Such individuals 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 nonetheless not been in a position to resolve points with G-23 that has sought modifications within the occasion.
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 occasion’s points earlier than individuals who we’re combating with in Punjab, does it strengthen our occasion? So let’s depart it. I didn’t have to go both. It was a private occasion. But individuals who have gotten every thing from the occasion should not consider destroying the occasion… For the previous 12 months we have now been coping with Covid. How many of those (G-23) leaders have gone out and helped individuals of their area? They raised these points when Madam (Sonia Gandhi) was not properly. It is inhuman.
HARIKISHAN SHARMA: What will the Congress’s technique be for the Uttar Pradesh elections subsequent 12 months?
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 have been mendacity on the banks of Ganga. There have been no beds in hospitals, no oxygen… What has the federal government been doing? Dalits are dealing with atrocities, the Hathras incident occurred… Facts and figures associated to atrocities in opposition to Dalits are being suppressed in UP, similar to Covid deaths. We will struggle this. Priyanka Gandhi has been assembly individuals. Just as a result of we have now 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 in opposition to the federal government? How do you propose to tackle the Modi authorities sooner or later?
As far as election technique is anxious, it’s revamped time. There are completely different events concerned, and it’s a must to agree on just a few points. We are engaged on uniting on just a few points and elevating them. Pegasus, Covid, farm legal guidelines, inflation have been among the points that we raised collectively just lately. 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 individuals. Unemployment has been growing. They promised 2 crore jobs yearly to the youth. Where are they? They have been mendacity since coming to energy. They mentioned they’ll give Rs 15 lakh to everybody, demonetisation will likely be good and so forth… You have made everybody a prisoner, from the press to leaders… But you can not survive lengthy with this… Our president Sonia Gandhi can be speaking to everybody. We are engaged on a technique. 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 in opposition to 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 individuals. There is little doubt our occasion will come ahead… The Congress will give all constructive help to construct this (Opposition) unity. Rahul Gandhi is coming ahead and speaking to leaders personally. There is little doubt we can have unity and struggle future elections along with the opposite events.
RAVISH TIWARI: We hold 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 to this point. If somebody needs to assist the occasion, and if their service is helpful, the occasion 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 state of affairs within the state and what does this imply for the 2023 Assembly polls in Karnataka?
The state of affairs 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 aspect. What I’m involved about is that my Karnataka was a progressive state, it had a great surroundings… Earlier, leaders within the state throughout occasion traces spoke to 1 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 have been busy taking credit score for Covaxin and Covishield. During the second wave, they exported vaccines when individuals have 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 docs, however they weren’t used. Rahul Gandhi spoke to the WHO (World Health Organization), and different specialists, however even his recommendations have 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 recommendations. They ignored recommendations from eminent economists. They simply continued with their publicity drive. Now, he’s attempting to be Rabindranath Tagore… Earlier, he would change jackets on daily basis… I don’t wish to make private feedback. But he’s not keen 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, they usually 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 assume 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 help a caste census?
We have mentioned that we must always determine the poor, who’s educated, who owns how a lot land, home, what enterprise they do, their occupation… To get this data, we’d like 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 street, then this authorities made it four-lane. Is there any level in taking credit score for all the factor!… Even earlier than leaders of the current BJP have been born, the nation had lots. The IITs, AIIMS, nationwide highways, dams, irrigation initiatives have been all there. So this perspective to take credit score for this stuff is juvenile.
Jawaharlal Nehru was probably 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 have now 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.