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New Delhi, Aug 05: Opposition MPs are planning to hold a symbolic protest at the site of farmers’ agitation at Jantar Mantar on Friday morning to express solidarity with them, sources said on Thursday.
Leaders of the opposition parties, which have virtually stalled all proceedings in both Houses of Parliament over the Pegasus controversy and the agitating farmers’ demand for repeal of three contentious farm laws, will meet on Friday to finalise details of their protest, the sources said.
The meeting is likely to be attended Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. The opposition leaders have held several closed-door meetings which set the tone for an anti-BJP front during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament.
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“Opposition MPs are likely to hold a protest in the morning at Jantar Mantar. A decision on that will be taken at the meeting tomorrow. We all have said that while our first demand is for a discussion on Pegasus, our stand on the farm laws has never wavered,” said a senior opposition leader.
The sources, however, indicated that respective leaders of opposition parties in the two Houses are unlikely to be part of the protest so as to not dilute their demand for a discussion on the Pegasus issue in Parliament, which remains their primary agenda.
The farmers under the banner of Samyukta Kisan Morcha were given special permission to protest at Jantar Mantar during the Monsoon Session. They have been allowed to protest at Jantar Mantar till August 9, but only on weekdays.
The opposition parties have also decided to up the ante against the government in the last week of the session. Sources said that a decision has been taken to have at least one member from each of the opposition parties in the Well when the House proceedings are underway.
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Currently, TMC, CPI(M) and Congress MPs mainly occupy the Well during their protest in Parliament. It has also been decided that every opportunity that an opposition member gets to speak, he or she should mention the Pegasus issue.
The opposition unity was in full display in Rajya Sabha on Thursday with Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge coming out in support of the six TMC MPs who were suspended on Thursday. The government, keen to bring some decorum in Parliament, has initiated back channel talks with some opposition members, sources said, adding that some leaders received calls from Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal for a meeting.
However, the opposition stuck to their demands for a discussion on the Pegasus controversy and the repeal of the farm laws. Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned on Thursday amid protests by the opposition.
Story first published: Thursday, August 5, 2021, 20:37 [IST]