No debate on Pegasus in first half of Budget session, Minister says Opposition has assured of cooperation

New Delhi: Amid fresh controversy around the Pegasus spyware, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on Monday hoped smooth functioning of Parliament after a meeting with leaders of all parties. The Minister was talking to media after an all party meet, which was held virtually and was attended by leaders of all parties. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the meeting, and told all parties that the first half of Budget session is for debate on President’s address and General Budget. “Other issues can be raised in the second half of the session,” Joshi said. MPs from the Congress, Trinamool Congress, and Communist Party of India, have given privilege notice against Information and Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnav over his reply on the Pegasus issue during Monsoon Session. Asked about the motions, Joshi said the Lok Sabha Speaker will take a call on whether to admit them or not. He however added that the Pegasus issue is pending with the Supreme Court and there isn’t much point in discussing it in the first half of the session, which is dedicated to debating President’s address and Budget. “We have told opposition parties the matter is with the Supreme Court. First half of Budget session is for debate on Budget and President’s speech, by second half SC might have taken a view on the matter,” he said. “Opposition has given assurance for smooth functioning of House. They can raise the (Pegasus) issue in discussion on President’s speech, Prime Minister will reply to the debate,” he said. Joshi said opposition has assured the House will function smoothly. Budget session of Parliament started Monday. The first half of the session will conclude on February 11. Second half of the session will start March 13 and conclude on April 8.

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