The Pegasus spying controversy is threatening to derail the Monsoon Session of Parliament with the Opposition seeking a debate and trying to devise a common floor strategy on a report by a group of media websites that alleges illegal surveillance through Israeli spyware on politicians, journalists, bureaucrats and others.
Setting the tone for the day, Congress lawmaker in Lok Sabha MP Manickam Tagore on Tuesday morning gave an adjournment motion notice on the issue. In Rajya Sabha, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh gave a zero hour notice on the issue.
Also read: What is Pegasus spyware?
Trinamool Congress's Sukhendu Sekhar Ray has also given a notice, seeking suspension of Rules of business in the Rajya Sabha, for a discussion on Pegasus.
The notices came amid reports that the Opposition for trying for a common floor strategy on the report that has named leaders across party lines as potential targets for spying.
The names include Rahul Gandhi, poll strategist Prashant Kishor, Trinamool leader and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee. Even IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was named as the intended target of surveillance .
Vaishnaw's name figured on the list hours after he had put up a stout defence of the government in the Lok Sabha on Monday. "A highly sensational story was published by a web portal yesterday night.... The press report appeared a day before the Monsoon session of the Parliament.
"This cannot be a coincidence. In the past similar claims were made regarding the use of Pegasus on WhatsApp. Those reports have no factual basis and were categorically denied by all parties," the minister had said. Vaishnaw is expected to make a statement in Rajya Sabha today.
With Pegasus vendor NSO saying that it supplies its spying software only to vetted governments, the opposition parties have demanded a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and have sought Home Minister Amit Shah's resignation